Group collecting goods for W.Va. spill victims

MOUNDSVILLE – Although officials have declared water in the southern part of West Virginia safe to use, many people are still dealing with the effects of a 10-day long water ban that left 300,000 without safe water, Rose Hart, executive director of Appalachian Outreach Inc., said.

In a continuous effort to help those affected by the spill, Appalachian Outreach and St. Vincent’s de Paul will be collecting nonperishable foods, readymade baby formula, baby care items, wipes, paper products, plasticware and sanitizer.

For the next two weeks, AOI will send a truck of supplies to rural areas affected by the spill that may not have access to food pantries and other emergency assistance.

“We’re going into remote areas that are economically strapped where we have contacts,” Hart said. “A lot of food banks are low this time of year because of the holidays. This drive is to supplement what they still need.”

In addition, AOI also is collecting funds to assist in mortgage, rent and utility payments for people who lost days of work when businesses closed during the water ban.

Hart said AOI plans to monitor the situation in the affected counties and will continue to support the area as long as there is a need.

Donations may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday until Feb. 3 at the AOI Warehouse at 200 Lafayette Ave. in the rear of the former Giant Eagle building. Before donating, the dates of nonperishable items should be checked to ensure they are not expired.

Financial donations may be made to West Virginia Disaster Fund in care of the United Methodist Foundation at 900 Washington St. East, Charleston WV 25301. To assist with delivery costs for AOI, donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 233, Glen Dale, WV 26038. For information, call Appalachian Outreach at (304) 845-2762.