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CANA — The Feeding America site in Cana supplies thousands of pounds of food to people in distressed areas, as fundraising continues to supply the local match to pay for 10 months of the service.
Skills USA clubs at Carroll County High School threw a barbecue meal fundraiser on Oct. 30 go toward the $5,000 needed to secure the program.
Fundraiser organizers presented a check for the $3,000 raised at the Feeding America mobile pantry at St. Paul on Nov. 19 to the Southwestern Virginia organization’s John Shoulders.
Having gotten a look at the Cana site, Shoulders pronounced at “great spot” for a food distribution point. Where other communities might see hurdles, the agency’s partners in Carroll see no challenge that can’t be overcome.
Feeding America intends to set up around 15 mobile distribution sites in the region to reach people in places that might not receive help from other agencies.
“We’re helping others by partnering up with you guys,” Shoulders told Sheriff J.B. Gardner and Richard Slate Jr., who both helped with the barbecue fund raiser. The fund raiser was dedicated to the memory of Slate’s wife Joyce, who had served as St. Paul’s librarian for close to four decades.
“The whole county looks like it has good, cooperative spirit,” Shoulders said.
The Cana site is Feeding America’s third location for mobile food pantries in the Twin Counties, with the others being at Grant and Providence in Grayson County, explained Walker Nelms, the marketing and communication coordinator.
The agency “continuously looks at how to better serve economically distressed areas in rural Southwest Virginia,” he said in an e-mail to The Gazette. “We wanted to focus on finding a location to enable people in Carroll County to have access for needed food assistance.”
Feeding America found a willing partner in administrators and teachers at St. Paul School. It has enough space to accommodate the tractor-trailer and community traffic and enough volunteers to handle the distribution of 10,000 pounds of food.
He thanked site coordinators Robin McMillian and Karen Rippey, as well as Principal Nancy Wilmoth and Vice Principal Gene Hawks, for the invitation to use the school grounds.
“With their enthusiasm and commitment, along with that of the countless volunteers, the mobile food pantry has been quite successful from the start, serving about 250 families at each monthly distribution,” Nelms said.
A grant from the United Company Charitable Foundation helped the mobile food pantry get a truck and launch the program in Southwest Virginia to reach out to communities in need.
“One requirement of the program is that each location contribute $1,000 per distribution,” Nelms said. The $1,000 provided by the community is a fraction of the value of distributing the 10,000 pounds (worth $16,900) of food each month.
“On average for each $1 donated to Feeding America Southwest Virginia, we are able to provide approximately $9 of food value through the charitable food distribution network.”
The barbecue fundraiser at Carroll County High School sold quarts, pints and sauce to benefit the Cana site, according to organizer Vance Leggett.
Skills USA representatives wanted to help support the Feeding America site in Cana in memory of Joyce Slate, the librarian who served St. Paul for close to four decades.
“The students and advisors of CCHS Skills USA would challenge any other clubs, churches, organizations to become a sponsor of Feeding America in the Cana Area of Carroll County,” Leggett said.
• For more information, contact St. Paul School at (276) 755-3512 or Carroll County High School at (276) 728-2125.