By Sarah Mansheim
The Lewisburg/Fairlea Food Locker helps to feed those in need, and now, the Food Locker needs your help. The good news is, they’re going to make it worth your while. The Food Locker has two exciting fundraisers on the horizon – organizers want to make sure that the needy have plenty to eat come summer. Usually, giving is high during the holidays but tapers off as the weather gets warmer. Unfortunately, need knows no season.
Most Food Locker recipients are seniors, disabled or those living on fixed incomes or families with children that meet the financial guidelines. The Food Locker, located at the Old Stone Church Fellowship Hall, serves residents of the Lewisburg area, including Fairlea and Caldwell.
In February, volunteers from participating Lewisburg/Fairlea churches distributed food to approximately 150 residents of Lewisburg Manor, Tabor Towers and Morgan Manor. On the same day, 75 families with 225 people received 150 bags of food when they came to the Old Stone Fellowship Hall to pick up food. In 2015, 3,382 bags of food were provided to 4,244 people in 2,041 families.
In order to help continue to serve those families, the Food Locker is holding a March Madness Food Locker Raffle and a fundraiser at the Irish Pub. The raffle, organized by Lewisburg’s Siobhan Winters and her partner, Mullins native Sam Stump, is going on now.
Stump put his Mullins roots to work and has procured two signed basketballs for the raffle. One is signed by basketball legend Jerry West, and the other is signed by all three D’Antonis: Mike, Dan and Lewis.
Basketball fans know the D’Antonis as West Virginia hoops royalty. Mike is the current associate head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, having coached such teams as the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. During his college days, he played for Marshall.
Mike’s brother, Dan, is a star in his own right as head coach of Marshall’s Thundering Herd basketball team and a former assistant coach for the Suns, the Lakers and the Knicks. Dan also had an illustrious basketball career at Marshall during his time in college.
Lewis, Mike and Dan’s father, was a long-time high school basketball coach and Concord College alumni who played there during his college career. Lewis authored the memoir, “The Coach’s Coach” in 2010.
Stump’s connections also made it possible for the Food Locker to get the Jerry West ball – his in-laws are good friends with West, the retired NBA great who now has a home at The Greenbrier Sporting Club.
Thanks to these connections, one lucky raffle winner will become the proud owner of the two signed basketballs. Raffle tickets are $10/ticket or three for $25. They can be purchased at the LoveChild children’s store in downtown Lewisburg or from Food Locker volunteers Gloria and Jean Martin. Gloria can be reached at 304-645-7842, and Jean can be reached at 304-661-7842. The phone number to LoveChild is 304-520-4934. The March Madness Food Locker Raffle can also be found on Facebook.
The drawing for the raffle will be held during the March Madness Final Four on Apr. 12.
The signed basketballs will be available for viewing at the Food Locker’s other fundraiser at the Irish Pub in Lewisburg on Sunday, March 6, from 3-6 p.m. The Irish Pub fundraiser will feature music provided by Patrick O’Flaherty, Jim Morgan, Jeanne Hoffman and Dan Freeman and Friends. There will also be a silent auction. Admission to the fundraiser is a financial or food donation.
According to Gloria Martin, financial donations are helpful because, she said, The Food Locker obtains food from the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway which is provided at no cost by the USDA. In addition, a variety of frozen meat, which is provided through the Food of America program, is purchased at a reduced rate. In general, this is donated by firms such as Kroger and Wal-Mart and frozen before it reaches the must sell date. Food is purchased locally from the Cornerstone IGA to supplement foods received from the Mountaineer Food Bank. In addition, food collected by local churches, businesses, groups and individuals is added to the bags distributed by the Food Locker.
Because food can be purchased at a discount, a financial contribution is always helpful, said Martin. Checks can be made to the Lewisburg/Fairlea Food Locker and sent in care of the Old Stone Church, 200 Church St., Lewisburg, WV 24901. Individuals or groups can collect food which can be brought to the church during business hours, Monday to Friday. Non-perishable canned goods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, pasta, soup and dry goods such as beans, rice or cereal are preferred. The Food Locker cannot accept fresh foods as there is no way to store them. Also, out-of-date foods cannot be used.