Shinnston VISTA leads community food drive


My name is Jon Olsen. I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the City of Shinnston through The Hub. I am primarily involved with volunteer recruitment and management. Additionally, I conduct needs assessments and facilitate community forums to identify solutions to poverty in Harrison County.

When I became a VISTA in late October, one of my early goals was to identify partners with whom the City of Shinnston could collaborate on community service projects. I soon met Amber Blankenship, the Harrison County Family Resource Coordinator with WV Prevention Solutions. She presented to me an idea for an event: a food drive that would benefit the local food pantry in Shinnston. I was thrilled and started making preparations.

On December 11th, 2020 we held the food drive for The Lord’s Pantry. The Lord’s Pantry is a source of tremendous pride in the City of Shinnston, where many community members come together to support one another. On Thursday mornings, from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, families and individuals in need from all over Harrison County come to The Lord’s Pantry to receive food and hygiene items.

The food drive was an overall success. Over 380 food items were donated and delivered as a result of our event. Additionally, the Harrison County Hope Lion’s Club contributed $50 worth of donations and provided a canopy for the booth.

The event was a great opportunity for the City of Shinnston to collaborate with a new partner, WV Prevention Solutions. This is a partnership that has the potential to grow and flourish, and I was given the opportunity to learn the skill of partnership development through my VISTA service.

If you’d like to connect with the food bank to volunteer or donate, contact The Lord’s Pantry Director, Sandra Haggerty, at

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