MARTINSBURG – Volunteers who gather here monthly to feed children from low-income families are hoping for more help to expand their efforts in Jefferson County.
Kidz Power Packs, a program started in 2010 by Diana Wall and several others, already provides weekend, holiday and summer meals to more than 300 children in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
“[The pack] covers Friday dinner and then all the meals for Saturday and Sunday,” Wall said. “It gets them through when they are not getting school lunches.”
About 100 volunteers turned out Saturday to assemble the packs at Eagle Intermediate School in Martinsburg. “They come down the assembly line and take one of each different item,” Wall explained.
The program already serves children who attend five Jefferson County schools, but Wall wants to do more.
“We really want to see this grow in Jefferson County until what you see here is there as well,” she said. “I would like, as we get more sponsors, to also include each of the dinners throughout the rest of the week, because they are not getting those through the schools right now.
“Budget-wise, we just can’t do that right now, but that is our goal.”
Wall says she and her husband Danny Wall were inspired to start the program because of help they got from the community.
After her husband was seriously injured while working to help neighbors after a blizzard, he needed five surgeries over the course of a year and couldn’t work; they lost their home to foreclosure.
“We had churches come out and give us food,” explained Wall, who added that more help came after her in-laws purchased the couple a home in need of major renovations. “It was God showing us, ‘OK, look how the community came together to help you, now this is what I want you to do for the other families who are suffering.’”
Foods included in a typical weekend pack include apple sauce, breakfast cereal, potato chips, ramen noodles, canned fruit and packs of oatmeal.
More on the effort may be found at communitycombined.org.