By Pastor Ruth Bullwinkle
The Blackwater Ministerial Association in Davis has a history of serving the community in various ways. The alliance of churches (St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Thomas Catholic Church, Community Bible Church, Canaan Valley Baptist Church, Thomas and Harmon Presbyterian Churches, the local Methodist Parrish) on the mountain top does things from running the food pantry in Davis to working with Community Action of Tucker County to pay overdue utility bills. They help people get the resources needed in order to live. The food pantry alone moved over 30,000 pounds of food in 2017 to serve Tucker County residents.
Each December, about a week before Christmas, the ministerial association puts together boxes of food for the patrons of the food pantry (63-71 households who are served monthly) and others whom have been recommended to receive the boxes. This year the process was three days long and involved about thirty community volunteers, ranging from school aged children to retired adults, who gathered at the Davis Fire Hall to donate their time and energy.
The first day was a day of preparation for the big assembly. The non-perishable food was delivered to the fire hall. Tables were set up and stations were arranged for easy assembly. Ninety-six boxes of various sizes, wrapped by Donna Britton, were picked up and brought to the hall.
The second day more volunteers were needed to help out. These volunteers worked in stations proportioning out the food into portions for small, medium, and large households. This was a quick affair this year as there were plenty of hands to do the work.
The final day was packing the boxes with the food. The perishable food was picked up early from the grocery store. This day was the largest use of volunteers, who packed boxes, carried boxes to cars, and helped with delivery. The city of Thomas graciously picks up the boxes for the residents of Thomas and delivers them. Davis is delivered by the ministerial association volunteers. The largest number of boxes is delivered to the Dryfork and Harmon area where the recipients pick them up at a specified location.
The whole operation ran like clockwork this year thanks to the leadership of Andrea Dalton of Canaan Valley and the many volunteers who came to lend a hand. Andy spent many hours planning with the ministerial association and the leaders of the food pantry, Veronica Staron and Nancy Moore, to know exactly what to pack and to whom to give the boxes. In the end, she said the work was all worth it, because this is the work of the church reaching out into the community to share the gift of love.