Roger Myers unloads a pallet of donated food Thursday morning in Martinsburg. On Thursday, November 16, 2017, at 8:00 a.m., the Berkeley County Congregational Cooperative Action Project (CCAP) Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry will receive a semi-truck of food from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The truckload will contain approximately 40,000 pounds of food, with an estimated value of $40,000. (Journal Photo by Ron Agnir)
MARTINSBURG — Officials from the Berkeley County Congregational Cooperative Action Project Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry received 40,000 pounds of food, worth an estimated $40,000, Thursday.
Officials gathered at ROC’s Local Market on W.Va. 9/Kelly Island Road in Martinsburg to receive the semi-truck full of food from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to a press release from CCAP.
CCAP is operated by a group of local churches and is chartered as an emergency social service organization that provides temporary food and financial assistance to residents of Berkeley County, the release said.
Steve Truax, chair of the CCAP Board of Directors said the delivery truck “must be God’s will, with a little serendipity thrown in.”
Truax said he and the all-volunteer staff of CCAP have been preparing for the upcoming season. Needs for food and other services typical increase this time of year, as many residents face greater home expenses, he said.
The semi-truckload of food from the LDS Church is the largest one-time donation CCAP has received, according to the press release.
CCAP donation and distribution of food, and other support services, occurs five days a week at its site in the old St. Joseph’s school on Queen Street, in Martinsburg. Storage space is limited, the release said.
“The Roach family, owners of ROCS, heard about the potential delivery,” Truax said. “They decided to step in to help.” Joanie Roach, who died in 2017, was a longtime founding member of CCAP/Loaves and Fishes.
“Joanie was instrumental in ‘challenging and opening the door’ with the many area churches that founded CCAP in the mid-1970s,” the release said. The current owners of the family business, Joanie’s son, Steve, and grandson, Jason, said they would store the incoming food.
ROC’s warehouse on W.Va. 9 will store the more than 40 pallets delivered by tractor- trailer Thursday.
Beyond seasonal needs, residents of Berkeley County experience food insecurity at higher rates than other areas of the U.S., according to the release.
The West Virginia Nonprofit Association reports that West Virginia ranks No. 1 for food needs and volunteer response in the country.
CCAP and other food donation and distribution programs in the Eastern Panhandle are regularly supported by hundreds of local churches and volunteers who give time, food and financial support, the release said.
One Sunday a month, members of the church go without two meals and give the money they would have spent on food to the church. All of the canned and boxed food in the truck has been planted, grown, harvested and processed by LDS volunteers, the release said.
“The church has identified a special need in West Virginia,” said Beth Tindall, local LDS Church public affairs representative. “We have already delivered food to Charleston, and now see the Eastern Panhandle in need as well. It did seem to fit what the WVNPA and Mountaineer Food Bank already knew.”
Although CCAP has never received such a large donation at once, it receives regular donations from a variety of sources. Area food stores and restaurants routinely donate from their stocks, the release said. Additionally, the Mountaineer Food Bank, located in Gassaway, West Virginia, delivers truckloads of food to underserved areas at least monthly, the release said.
The U.S. government provides some food for distribution to many local organizations through the Mountaineer Food Bank, but the amount has been decreasing steadily over the past few years, according to the release.
Additional truckloads are currently scheduled to be delivered to food banks in western Maryland and western Virginia. “The truck drivers will be busy next week,” Tindall said.
For more information about CCAP/Loaves and Fishes, visit berkeleycountyccap.com.