Non-profit organizations team up to feed hundreds in Bluefield


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The non-profit organization Connection to the Connection teamed up with Mountaineer Food Bank — based in Gassaway — to host its yearly drive thru food bank Tuesday at Bluefield City Park.

More than 20 people volunteered to hand out food to low-income families in the Mercer County area.

Connection to the Connection and Mountaineer Food Bank distributed protein meats, fresh produce and canned foods which equalled to more than 10,000 pounds of food, according to Lilly Hoover, mobile pantry assistant of Mountaineer Food Bank.

Mountaineer Food Bank is the largest food bank in the state of West Virginia, serving 48 out of the 55 counties.

"Today we are feeding 200 households, so assuming there are two people in each household, we'll feed about 400 people roughly," Hoover said. "We have a great variety. We have fresh produce such as potatoes, cabbage, fresh eggs, along with a protein because we try to add meat to their meals."

Connection to the Connection is a non profit in Bluefield that has been serving the community since 2021, offering a food pantry and hosting food drives for Mercer County residents, according to Angela Reed, executive director of Connection to the Connection.

"What we have done today is collaborate with the Mountaineer Food Bank and Feed America to feed 200 to 400 people. We do this three times a year. We also have a food pantry that locals can utilize and come visit whenever, so you don't have to wait for events like this to receive food," Reed said. "So many people are living paycheck to paycheck, the cost of food has gone up but nobody's paychecks have gone up. So we try to mend that bridge."

Because of the grant given by the Mountaineer Food Bank, Connection to the Connection is able to provide food for the community.

"We've been collaborating with Mountaineer Food Bank and they gave local non profits a big grant to allow us to do big distributions," Reed said. "We have done two distributions and they supplied the food and the grant money. Without them we wouldn't be able to do this."

As food prices skyrocket in the country, more families depend on food pantries to feed their families which is why Professor of Bluefield State University Dr. Albertus Barnes volunteered and encourages others to do so.

"I want to give back and it's a part of my life to always give back and help out with the opportunities I get," Barnes said. "Everybody needs help and everybody should do it (volunteer) and give back especially in this economy. This is perfect way to help out the community since prices are so high right now."

Shauntina Reed came out for the first time to volunteer.

"I've been interested in helping out the community for a long time. It's a big aspect out of my life," Shauntina Reed said. "There's a lot of people here and it's my first event with them. It's gone super well, and it's so beautiful."

Volunteer Tessa Giles loves to volunteer as much as she can, but believes it's a double edged sword.

"It's just in my DNA (to volunteer). I don't know anything other to do than helping the community I live in," Giles said. "It's a two-fold situation because we appreciate who are coming to get food from us, however, on the other side it's a shame that there are this many people who are in need of provisions and food."

Connection to the Connection encourages area residents to email them at or call 304-327-7276 for volunteer opportunities and to receive food from their local pantry in Bluefield.

The two pantry's are located on 214 Church Street and 415 Federal Street Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

— Contact Tara Wyatt at