OPERATION "BE KIND" IS LAUNCHED
Wetzel Chronicle, April 15, 2020
On March 31st, New Martinsville City Recorder, Kim Whiteman, received an extraordinary phone call from an even more extraordinary man. Cliff Sinclair, Superintendent of US Pipeline, was asking how he and his company could help the community during these very difficult times. The prior day, US Pipeline had purchased a food truck and sponsored a distribution of nonperishable foods to 400 families of Rio Grande, Ohio and surrounding areas. Cliff, who is not from the area, wanted to help even more.
"What a huge blessing this is!" said Whiteman. "To have someone reach out and say, hey we care about your community and we want to help is truly amazing."
Kim, along with Parks and Recreation Director, Bev Gibb and Assistant General Manager of the New Martinsville Electric Department, Dawn Myers, began mapping out their strategy. With food trucks being at a higher demand than usual, the three put their heads together and "Operation Be Kind" evolved. Their goal became to help as many families and individuals as they could with the generous donation.
Mary Ash, Director of the Wetzel County Committee on Aging, was contacted for information on what their organization could use. Ash stated that she was concerned about the elderly shut ins who may be in need. A list of items that would be of the most benefit to these individuals was developed.
With certain items being is such high demand, Witschey's Store Managers, Rose and Denny Wichterman, were instrumental in aiding with the ordering. "Witschey's has been so kind and helpful throughout this process" stated Whiteman. "They made it possible for us to stretch our dollars even more by donating bags and giving a very generous credit on the purchase."
The food items were delivered to Witschey's early on April 7th. Be Kind volunteers, consisting of New Martinsville City Employees, Council and Mayor, sorted the items and began packing the bags later that day. The goal of the group was to have all the of food delivered prior to the weekend.
A total of 220 grocery bags were filled to capacity with spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, fruit cups, juices, pop tarts, peanut butter and much more! Items that were left after filling the bags will be used for round two of the give a way. Various organizations and individuals were contacted to help distribute the bags to those in need.
"We anticipate being able to fill at least another 250 bags with funds we have left from US Pipeline along with additional donations we have received." Said Whiteman. "Not only has the company been so giving, the employees, themselves, have taken up a donation for the project. To me, that speaks volumes of the integrity of Mr. Sinclair, US Pipeline and its employees."
A special thank you goes out to Allicia Cook, owner of Grandma's House of Quilting. She made and provided the masks for the workers who were filling the bags.