United Food Operation, Inc. will kick off its 38th annual drive to collect food during the next 12 weeks for area food pantries with an event 12 p.m. Friday, January 11, 2019 at its distribution center in Institute. 

“Because the federal government shutdown is affecting food stamp distribution, West Virginia families, including children and the elderly, who are dependent on that assistance will need food pantries more than ever,” UFO Chair Elaine Harris said. “And that makes our mission even more urgent.” 

Each winter, United Food Operation distributes pallets of food, free-of-charge, to 12 independent food pantries around the Kanawha Valley. These distributions significantly augment the pantries' limited resources during the winter's peak demand for their services.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who has pledged to donate his congressional salary during the government shutdown to food pantries, plans to attend the kickoff event, which will include recognition of major contributors, volunteers, and other community supporters. This year UFO will also honor the memory of WQBE radio personality Al Woody who, along with longtime show partner Jeff Jeffries, faithfully promoted UFO for nearly 20 years. 

What:          Kickoff celebration for United Food Operation’s annual Food Drive

When:         12 p.m. Friday, January 11, 2019

Where:        United Food Operation Distribution Center 

          (on Route 25, across from the Institute Post Office)

Founded in June 1981 by members of organized labor and their employers, United Food Operation, Inc. is supported primarily by the voluntary contributions of employees and employers of Charleston, West Virginia area business, industry, and government entities. It is an all-volunteer effort that operates out of donated warehouse and office space. With extremely low overhead—it pays no salaries, rent, utilities, or expensive fundraising campaign fees—more of its contributions go directly to purchasing food that is distributed to the needy through a network of local food pantries.