Food bank struggles to meet need

Agnes Hapka

November 27, 2013

MASON COUNTY — In spite of bringing home a regular paycheck, it’s still cripplingly difficult for many working families to budget for basic needs — like food.

The people who organize Mason County food bank are involved in an ongoing effort to provide some relief for families and individuals who struggle to buy food. But for the food bank itself, it’s a year-to-year struggle to keep going.

The majority of funding comes from United Way, volunteer Tammy Sayre said, but that funding has been cut over the past few years.

“Last year we had $18,496 in food receipts, and we got $11,888 from United Way. The rest was made up of donations.”

“Our main object here is to help the working class,” said Sayre, who, with the help of some people in her church, has undertaken the running of the bank. “They worry about being able to get enough to eat, but yet they’re three dollars over what it takes to get food stamps. We also want to help the elderly, who get social security — you can’t get food stamps because you make too much money.”

Sayre said she was initially moved to help by an article she read a few years ago in the Point Pleasant Register.

“We took the food bank about three years ago,” said Sayre. “One weekend an article appeared about the food bank being closed and the folks who were working it could no longer do so.”

The article indicated that there was still some funding available, added Sayre. She talked to other church members about it.

“We got together and agreed this was crazy to have funds to provide food to people in our community and no one able to do


In addition to the basic United Way funding, Sayre and the others drummed up as much community involvement as they could to make up the difference in financial need.

“There is a level of frustration that goes with it,” Sayre said. “The ordering of the food, the paperwork, and when you want to give more and you don’t have it.”

“However,” Sayre added, “a little bit is a lot when you have nothing.”

Donations from the community and business have helped in the past and Sayre said she hopes that continues.

“This year’s funding has been cut again so there will be a greater need for donations.”

Sayre that the bank plans to operate on the evening of Monday, December 23, funds allowing.

Less money has translated to a change in the way the bank is operated, said Sayre.

“People used to come in and be able to make selections, but now we bag everything up beforehand and they get a bag or a box.”

This past Monday the food bank set up at the youth center in Harmon Park in Point Pleasant. Sayre said that the event served 63 families.

“No one realizes the need,” said Sayre. “Some may say people are not in need; they should manage better. We do not judge. These are working people who just can’t make it.”

Sayre said she’d like to see more community involvement this year and in future years.

“I encourage everyone to visit your local food bank whether it is this one or another one and see what we see every month and you will be enlightened. Donate food, money to buy food, your time, your prayers. There is no greater blessing than that of helping others.”

Sayre said that anyone wishing to donate to the food bank may call her at (304) 532-7488.