KEYSER - According to the study “Hunger in America,” about one in seven American families rely on food pantries to put food on the table.

By Marcia Conrad
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - According to the study “Hunger in America,” about one in seven American families rely on food pantries to put food on the table.
Food banks, like Keyser's Faith in Action, collect and distribute food to more than 50 million people nationwide, about 12 million of which are children, and about 7 million are seniors.
Some of these families have fallen on hard times and need temporary help to provide food for themselves and their families, but more and more people depend on food pantries on a regular basis.
Keyser's Faith in Action has been in operation for over 30 years. Located at 71 James St. in Keyser, some days the facility serves as many as 30 families. While some families visit the pantry only three or four times a year, some come every 30 days. Families and individuals must meet federal poverty income guidelines set by the USDA. In 2005, Faith in Action served 1,840 individuals. In 2016, that number more than doubled. In that year, the pantry provided services for 890 households and over 2,300 individuals.
To meet that need, the entirely volunteer staff of the Faith in Action Food Pantry handle about 6,500 pounds of food weekly.
Each family gets a box with staples such as meat, peanut butter, cereal, macaroni and cheese, and crackers. The box is rounded out with whatever supplies are on hand at
the pantry.
With the holidays approaching, the need is even more critical. The pantry provides a Thanksgiving basket for clients who sign up starting toward the end of
October. The Thanksgiving basket contains a turkey or chicken, corn or green beans, and dessert. Churches and civic organizations often donate items aimed specifically for the holiday basket.
Faith in Action receives donations from USDA commodities and from local food drives. Some local stores also donate produce and baked good to the pantry as well.
The pantry recently received sizable donations from The Orioles Club of Keyser and Danville Community Baptist Church.
While coordinator Pat Keller,says the pantry is not in critical need at this time, donations are always welcomed and appreciated. Specific items that are needed include
soup, spaghetti sauce, pork and beans, and vegetables. Cash donations are also appreciated so that some items can be purchased.
The Mountaineer Food Bank, a nonprofit organization located in Gassaway, West Virginia, allows pantries to purchase items at greatly reduced prices.
Although there are many dedicated volunteers who work at Faith in Action to stock shelves, box food, and sign clients in on the computer program, more help is
needed. They are specifically in need of able-bodied people who can lift heavy boxes to work on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Faith in Action Food Pantry is located at the corner of James and St. Cloud streets in Keyser. Their hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 1-3 p.m. They can be reached by telephone at 302-788-5331.