For those old enough to remember, McDowell County, WV is one of the primary Appalachian counties that lead former President Johnson's 'War on Poverty' back in the 1960's. He declared, "I have called for a national war on poverty. Our objective: total victory." At the time he was in Inez, KY, standing in Tommy Fletcher's yard.
While there are some areas of Appalachia that have done well and there are some that are doing better but, some, seemingly, haven't moved forward. If anything, the struggle is as bad as it was forty plus years ago, and some folks would say even worse because the focus has moved elsewhere.
Times are hard and getting harder; nothing says this like volunteering at a food bank. 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes Food Bank in McDowell County, WV is a 501.c.3 non-profit Christian ministry feeding hungry people and, sometimes, their hungry pets. Their website says they have about 10,000 individuals on file who have applied for a Food Bank card. This represents about 3,300 families in McDowell and Wyoming County and I've met a few folks from across the KY line.
I've written about 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes, the heart and soul of one man. Bro. Bubby as he's known in his corner of the world has, along the way, picked up a fair number of volunteers who pick up the food and deliver it to churches throughout southern WV but it was, and is, his heartbeat. 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes is housed in an old grocery store building that, due to cutbacks, has no heat, no telephone and the electricity is used only if someone is on site or there's food in the freezers.
Bro. Bubby had some disturbing news this week, the coldest week this winter. The primary contributor, a large, corporate foundation is going out of business. Now. Not in the spring or summer or later this year...NOW, this week just ending.
I don't claim to know and, in fact, do not know, the corporate foundation but with all the negative news recently about money disappearing, about the FIFTY BILLION DOLLAR Ponzi scheme ... as reported by Forbes Magazine ... the name 'Bernie Madoff' jumps readily to mind. No, again let me say...I have no knowledge if Mr. Madoff's scheme, or should that be spelled "scam"??? had anything AT ALL to do with a corporate foundation closing in our region, I'm simply saying his name came to mind when I heard the bad news.
What that means for the 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes Food Bank and, ultimately, the hungry folks of southern WV is...more hunger. Bro. Bubby has, maybe, enough money to last two more months; possibly until sometime in March. In the past, the corporate foundation delivered food, paper products, toiletries and, sometimes, pet food to 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes where it was then distributed to volunteers who took the goods to be re-distributed to hungry people, a lot of whom are seniors who are raising their grandchildren. Yes, there are other folks who have given money, time, prayers and other efforts - volunteers in the truest sense of the word...every single one UNPAID...- to the food bank but they cannot make up the vast difference lost by the closing of this corporate foundation.
So, my plea to you is, if you're able, please send donations to the 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes Food Bank at PO Box 297 Roderfield, WV 24881. Will you receive a thank you note? Probably not as thank you notes cost money and Every Single Penny will be spent on food. Not on paper products, toiletries nor, I'm sad to say, on pet food but on people food. Food so human beings will eat and be blessed by your goodness.
Just remember what the old preacher once said, "your benefits will be outta this world!"
God's blessings upon you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.
Blessings ~ Bro. Bubby ~ 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes Food Bank ~ volunteers ~ donations ~ caring people who send money, prayers or some other kind of help ~ warmth in a frosty world gone, sometimes, mad ~ God's love as evidenced by His human creation ~