CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The pandemic caused job loss, and for some, tough times got even tougher. Due to higher unemployment rates in West Virginia, many people struggle to feed themselves and their families.
“This year we’re on track to serve even more. We’re averaging almost 14,000 meals a month right now,” said Amy Wolfe, Executive Director of Manna Meal.
A recent drop in chilly weather sends more people seeking help.
“It’s dropped so suddenly into the cold weather, we’re getting, ‘Do you have a blanket, do you have a bed sheet that I can have, anything that can help?’,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe says the population they serve is more than those who are homeless. They are seeing new faces from all walks of life.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick that just has not slowed down, and people are under the assumption that we just serve our unsheltered neighbors in need, but we also serve people that are living paycheck to paycheck barely scraping by, a lot of elderly,” said Wolfe.
Robert Sheets, who is disabled and living off monthly social security, says he is barely able to get by.
“If it wasn’t for Manna Meal, it’d be hard to balance the budget for me,” said Robert Sheets, a food recipient.
Sheets says many of the faces served at Manna Meal work full time.
“They work minimum wage and if they don’t get food there, it’s very hard,” said Sheets.
Funded solely by donations, Manna Meal says, they work hard to provide as much as they can to those in need. Especially during the winter season.
“We usually open the doors at seven, but when it’s cold outside we open as soon as we get here, let them in, and then we’ll start making coffee and all that stuff to heat them up,” said Hunter Johns, a worker at Manna Meal.
Manna Meal says monetary donations and winter clothing are needed this season. If you would like to donate, click here, or bring clothing to their location any time of the week at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Quarrier Street.