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'Day to Serve' collects an estimated 10,500 pounds of nonperishable food

September 29, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Mormon Helping Hands members sorting food outside the CCAP/Loaves and Fishes food pantry.
By Richard F. Belisle

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — An army of volunteers, mostly members of Berkeley County Mormon churches, collected an estimated 10,500 pounds of nonperishable food Saturday for a local food pantry.

Dubbed “Day to Serve,” about 250 church members began the project on Sept. 22, when they placed up to 10,000 doorknob notices on residents’ doors around the county asking them to place a bag of food in clear view on their front steps for pickup Saturday after 8 a.m.

Volunteer members of Mormon Helping Hands picked up the food from the doorsteps and brought it to three collection points in the county, including in Inwood, Martinsburg and Marlowe.

From there, three trucks and drivers from the West Virginia Air National Guard 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg gathered the bags of food and hauled them to the Congregational Cooperative Action Project, or the CCAP /Loaves and Fishes pantry, in the basement of the St. Joseph Church parish house at 336 S. Queen St.

More Mormon Helping Hands volunteers there sorted and boxed the food in the pantry.

“We were hoping to bring in about 20,000 pounds today,” CCAP President Phil Steptoe said.

He said the pantry benefits from other food drives during the year by the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle’s Day of Caring, Berkeley County Board of Realtors, Boy Scouts and CCAP’s 30 member churches.

Last year, the pantry distributed more than 500,000 pounds of food to more than 4,000 needy families and individuals, many of them working poor.

Roy Young, organizer of Day to Serve, said there are about 2,500 Church of Latter-day Saints members in Berkeley County.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, along with the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of Washington, D.C., issued proclamations declaring Saturday as an official Day of Service, Young said.

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