Food Security Team

Ohio County Food Security Team Expands Local Food Access

Wheeling, WV – While 2020 demonstrated the need for new and innovative ways to provide food to people in need, 2021 is showing no sign of slowing down. The Ohio County Food Security Team, chaired by Ohio County Family Resource Network Executive Director Claudia Raymer, is providing two more ways to access food this week in Wheeling.  The first is a partnership with Mountaineer Food Bank on Thursday, May 6 from 11-1 pm in the parking lot of Wheeling Park’s White Palace and the second is the placement of the team’s seventh “blessings box,” also called a “little free pantry.”

“As a Family Resource Network, we are in an ideal situation to continue to facilitate collaboration among organizations to help reduce gaps in services and eliminate duplication of services relating to food security. The team, comprised of 14 community organization plus community representatives and each person’s input is valued and leads to continued success of the Team’s initiatives,” said Raymer.

One new partnership since the start of the pandemic has been Mountaineer Food Bank which now serves Ohio County through their Mobile Food Pantries. This service provides one box of food per household to West Virginia residents to drive through and includes meat, vegetables, bread and other essential items.  These mobile food pantries are scheduled throughout the year.  In addition to the event on May 6, Mobile Food Pantries will take place in Wheeling on August 26, October 28 and December 9.

Also on Thursday, the Food Security Team will unveil their latest “blessings box” to be located the Elks Lodge #28 on Jacob Street in South Wheeling. Blessing boxes contain non-perishable food items and other necessities and can be accessed by community members at any time. Residents can also donate items to the boxes. Members of the food security team, along with community partners, monitor the box to make sure it is well stocked, with the goal being that each area of Ohio County will sustain the box in their community through food donations.

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Blessings Box
Blessings Box

“Being part of the Ohio County Food Security Team has provided us an opportunity to work together and with new community partners in a way that serves more people in need, even when they cannot get into Wheeling. The combined work of the agencies with community partners makes sure no one falls through the cracks,” said Becky Rodocker, Executive Director for The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling. “They are helpful to community members who may need assistance, and they provide a perfect teaching experience for young children learning to give back.”

“This collaboration brings the school system, community feeding and social service organizations, and the perspective of people experiencing food insecurity together to build a network that allows the problem to be addressed more efficiently and realistically, creating an opportunity for more people to gain access. I believe it should serve as a model for school systems and communities across the state, even after the pandemic has ended,” said Amy Jo Hutchison, Food Security Team member and Ohio County resident.

Blessings Boxes can be found at the following locations:

West Liberty Volunteer Fire Department
1333 Van Meter Way, West Liberty

Valley Grove Community Center
8566 National Rd., Valley Grove

Bethlehem Elementary
22 Chapel Rd., Wheeling

Bridge Street Middle School
19 Junior Ave.

Elks Lodge #28
4706 Jacob St.

Garden Park – Warwood

Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling
1610 Eoff St.

For more information contact Claudia Raymer at 304-232-5600 or email