Comfort Keepers, FaithLink food drive begins

From the left, Melissa Ogden of FaithLink, Susan Dehmlow of Comfort Keepers and Publisher Jim Spanner of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel pose with a collection barrel for the Feed Seniors Now food drive. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

PARKERSBURG — An annual food drive benefiting senior citizens in the region is underway through December.

Feed Seniors Now, coordinated by Comfort Keepers and FaithLink of Wood and Washington counties, is in its 11th year and collects food that is made available to senior citizens throughout the winter.

One in three seniors in West Virginia struggles with the decision between buying food or buying medicine, said Melissa Ogden, program director for FaithLink.

“(The collection) helps out tremendously,” Ogden said.

Comfort Keepers and FaithLink on Wednesday rolled out the red collection barrels that are located in businesses and organizations in Marietta and Parkersburg.

The preferred items for donations are:

* Low-sodium canned vegetables: green beans, carrots, corn, peas, potatoes, tomatoes and spinach.

* Unsweetened juices: apple, cranapple, orange, grape and tomato.

* Grains: farina, grits, oats, rice, pasta and whole-grain pasta.

* Dairy: nonfat dairy milk powder and shelf stable milk.

* Unsweetened fruits: apple sauce, apricot halves, mixed fruit, peaches, pears and plums.

* Canned meats: tuna, chicken and beef stew.

* Dry beans: lima, great northern, red kidney and pinto.

* Cereal: corn flakes, corn squares, bran flakes and shredded wheat.

* Peanut butter: smooth.

Susan Dehmlow, of Comfort Keepers and an organizer of the food collection, hopes participants will be enthusiastic enough to see who can collect the most food in a friendly competition.

Last year the drive collected 3,051 pounds of food, a record in the 11-year tenure of the event. The goal is higher this year.

The collection drive supports two senior food pantries operated out of Market Manor and United Apartments, Ogden said.

Drop-off sites are:

* Brick Insurance Group Inc./Nationwide, 2404 Camden Ave., Parkersburg.

* Comfort Keepers, 148C Gross St., Marietta.

* O’Neill Senior Center, 333 Fourth St., Marietta.

* Parkersburg Catholic High School, 3201 Fairview Ave., Parkersburg.

* Parkersburg News and Sentinel, 519 Juliana St., Parkersburg.

* Professional Radiator and Tire, 1910 12th Ave., Parkersburg

* St. Mary Catholic School, 320 Marion St., Marietta.

* St. Paul’s Evangelical Church, 401 Fifth St., Marietta.

* Wenmoth Insurance Specialists/Erie Insurance, 501 Division St., Suite A, Parkersburg.

Items can also be dropped off at Piggly Wiggly in Vienna from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Nov. 16 and 23 and at Madison Elementary School, 1426 32nd St., Parkersburg, after Thanksgiving.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.