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Spring Valley Food Pantry Nutrition Program Seeking Volunteers

The WVU Extension Service, Wirt County Office has received a $1,500 grant from the Sisters Health Foundation to incorporate a Nutrition Program at the Spring Valley Food Pantry.  We are currently seeking adult volunteers to help deliver this program

What is the need for this program?

The Spring Valley Food Pantry distributes fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, dairy products, non-perishable items, bread, and meat to residents of Wirt County and surrounding areas at no cost to participants.  In 2017, 21.2% of the total population of Wirt County was estimated to be living at or below the federal poverty line. This food pantry, and others in the county, help fill in gaps for individuals and families in need.

While fruits and vegetables are provided, many of the items go unused by participants because they aren't familiar with how to prepare them.  The nutrition found in these items is left laying on the table and many of these items are being thrown away before they can be consumed.

How will the program address the need?

The mission of the nutrition program is to increase participant's knowledge in cleaning, preparing and cooking fresh fruits and vegetables while giving them an opportunity to expand their knowledge about nutrition and healthy food choices.
  • Food Tastings - Educators and volunteers will prepare and entree or snack before the beginning of the program and bring the prepared dish to the food pantry.  Participants will be able to taste the prepared meal and will receive a recipe card along with nutrition information on the meal.
  • Food Demonstrations - Educators and volunteers will prepare an entree or snack immediately before the food pantry hours begin. These demonstrations should be no longer than 20 minutes and will teach participants how to clean, prepare, and potentially cook the recipe.  Participants will be able to taste the meal and will receive a recipe card along with nutrition information on the meal.
A bowl of pasto with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes sits beside fresh basil.

How is the program funded?

In February 2019, the Wirt County Extension Office received a grant from the Sisters Health Foundation for $1,500 to implement this program. $50 will be allocated for purchasing food materials for each session. There will be two sessions per month that correspond with the Spring Valley Food Pantry operating hours. The grant also provides funds for printing recipe cards for the program.

How can volunteers become involved?

There will be approximately twenty-six (26) nutrition sessions over the next twelve (12) months. We are recruiting volunteers to assist with the implementation of the program so we can ensure consistency. Volunteers can assist with one or multiple sessions, help prepare dishes for tasting sessions, and present food demonstrations at the food pantry. Volunteers can choose their level of participation in the program. Below are some responsibilities and expectations for volunteers of the program:

  • Prepare dishes using materials purchased by the Extension Agent and a provided recipe in a timely manner following current food safety practices.
  • Presenting a food tasting or food demonstration during the operational hours of the food pantry.  This may include setting up a table with provided WVU Extension branded materials, distributing recipe cards, having basic discussions about food nutrition, picking up materials from the Extension Office, transporting materials in your own vehicle, and cleaning up materials from the presentation.
  • Facilitating basic discussions on food nutrition and healthy foods during the course of the nutrition program.
  • Maintaining confidentiality about the participants in the program.
  • Distributing and collecting evaluations prepared by the Extension Agent to determine the outcomes of the program.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the survey at the link below.  You can volunteer to prepare as little as one meal over the next year or present as many sessions as you'd like at the food pantry.  We will work with your schedule to make volunteering for the program as easy as possible.

Volunteer for the Spring Valley Nutrition Program

If you have questions regarding this program please contact the WVU Wirt County Extension Office at 304-275-3101.