PARKERSBURG - Bags upon bags of food were collected Saturday on the first day of Wal-Mart's Hunger Relief campaign.
Collections of non-perishable foods will continue today from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Wal-Mart stores in Vienna and south Parkersburg as part of the Wal-Mart Hunger Relief campaign.
Kevin Ohse, manager of the Pike Street Wal-Mart, said the collections went well at both stores for the first day despite the rainy weather.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
John Barker, of Elizabeth, dropped off a bag of food Saturday at the collection box.
"We had planned to have this outside but the weather forced us in," he said. "We will deliver the food collected at both stores to the Old Man Rivers Mission on Monday."
Ohse said there is another side to the collection as shoppers were asked to cast votes to help local food banks earn any number of grants, with the top amount being $1 million.
As of Saturday evening, the Parkersburg-Vienna-Marietta area was 11th among 200 communities targeted by the campaign.
Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the area made the list of top 200 communities in the country with the highest unemployment rates. The community with the highest number of votes will receive a $1 million grant, while the top 20 runners-up will each receive $50,000 grants, which will benefit local food pantries.
Ohse said while the voting will continue through the end of April, the Parkersburg area appears to be on track to finish among the top 20 communities. Individuals can cast a vote on Facebook once every 24 hours through April 30 by visiting www.facebook.com/walmart, clicking on the Fighting Hunger application and searching for their city of choice, he said.
At the Vienna Wal-Mart, two collection boxes were set up and by 6 p.m. Saturday had been emptied four times to make room for the donations, according to Elliott Kasum, assistant manager of the Vienna store.
"We've had four full boxes," he said. "We've also taken monetary donations to buy food."
Kasum said the excess items were taken back to the store's office and they were working on organizing the items for delivery. The food drive is being held this month because April is a time when food bank collections tend to be lowest, he said.