The Pocahontas Family Resource Network Needs Your Support to Help the Community
The Pocahontas County Family Resource Network during normal times supports the community with a food bank and other assistance, but these are not normal times. They are being stretched to their limits by the virus emergency. FRN Executive Director Laura Young explains how you can help them help your neighbors in need.
“My name is Laura Young, and I am the Director of the Family Resource Network” said Young.
Can you tell me a little about the Family Resource Network?
“Yes, the Family Resource Network is a non-profit, and we are a group from the local community who care about children and families.” Said Young. “We just try to make sure families have what they need to educate, nurture and protect their children.”
I understand that now, especially during this virus emergency that you are providing help through your food bank to the community. Tell me a little bit more about that.
“Yes, we operate the Harvest House food Pantry, and normally this is a monthly food pantry that we offer to low income customers” Young replied. “And we source the majority of our food from Mountaineer (Food) Bank in Gassaway (WV) and customers come in once a month and we offer them a box of free food. What we are seeing now is that Mountaineer Food Bank does not have a lot of inventory on their website that we can order, and I believe that’s happening probably because of the hording that’s going on. And the merchants around the state don’t have the merchandise to donate to Mountaineer Food Bank, so they in turn cannot offer it to us.”
Is this causing problems for your Food Pantry?
“I am afraid it is going to cause problems” Young said. “We had plenty enough food to do the food bank last month, and our next food pantry is not until April 28th. We try to order food all through the month. Normally, what we try to do is give out twelve-thousand pounds of food every month. And we server about four-hundred and fifty customers. And we are seeing an increase to our customer base already. With people being laid off from their jobs, they are calling for help right now. My greatest concern is when April 28th comes here, and I don’t have that twelve thousand pounds of food that I am not going to be able to serve all of our customers.”
Are you having problems getting volunteers?
“Because of this social distancing, we are not really not able to utilize our volunteers in the capacity that we have in the past” Young explained. “They are not allowed to come in over these conditions. Most of them are at home under the stay at home order from Governor justice, and they are doing what they can to just social isolate, so for the most part we are relying on our staff, which is considered essential staff, to help people with their requests. Our volunteer base is really suffering over that.”
Laura, how can the community help you meet these increased needs?
“This is not a normal situation for us” Young said. “We could put out a call for people to drop canned food off to us, but because of the social distancing and the fact that people are just nor supposed to be in the stores and out and about in the community. We have setup a coronavirus relief fund, and it’s a bank account at Pendleton Community Bank. And what we would like people to di is simply write a check. You can write a check and go through the drive-through and the tellers know exactly what account to put the money in. Or they can write a check to the Family Resource Network and mail it to Post Office Box 3 in Marlinton, and I will take care of the deposit.”
“If people take a can of food and they donate that can of food to me and it cost a dollar, that’s great and I am absolutely happy to accept that. But if they donate that dollar, I can take that dollar and maybe get nine cans of food with that same dollar, which increases the product I am able to give out. And it also allows me to buy exactly what I need.”
“We set a goal to raise ten thousand dollars by April 10th, and we are well on our way, but we still need some help with that. We have a campaign where we are doing some ‘dialing for dollars’ and we’re calling some people in the community who have helped us in the past, and we are doing some outreach to people who care about the FRN and care about their neighbors. We fell like they will take this opportunity to help. If people are laid off of work and are having a hard time paying their utility bills or their rent, we have an application process where they can apply for some help also.”
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
“It’s kind of a scary time for everybody, and we’re just encouraging everyone to do their social distancing and try to stay home as much as they can and give us a call if they need anything, and we’ll do what we can for them.”