MANNINGTON — One of the world’s largest natural gas producers is taking a stand against food insecurity.
The EQT Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the natural gas giant, EQT, donated $10,000 to the Mannington Food Bank Wednesday morning.
The foundation looks to donate and give back to communities where their corporate side has business operations. The company plans to begin operations in western Marion County soon, so the Mannington Food Bank fit in with the Foundation’s mission.
Ellen Rossi, president of the EQT Foundation, personally drove the 2-hour trek, along with other EQT employees from Pittsburgh to Mannington. Rossi and her crew presented the check, and stayed through the morning volunteering at the food bank.
The hope is to send employees to volunteer at the food bank on a monthly basis.
Rossi was pointed in Mannington’s direction by Your Community Foundation in Morgantown and the Tygart Valley United Way in Fairmont.
“All roads lead to the Mannington Food Bank,” Rossi said. “I called Colleen [Morris] last summer and encouraged her to apply for a grant. This [food bank] is right within the lines of what EQT loves to support.”
Before the pandemic, the Mannington Food Bank served 250-300 families a month. Since the lockdown, the traffic and donations slowed down, but with restrictions being lifted, the food banks volunteers expect the community’s needs to grow.
Collen Morris has served as director for the Mannington Food Bank since 2005.
“We have a lot of elderly that are on a fixed income, a lot of young mothers and a lot of people just trying to make ends meet,” Morris said. “We’re open every Wednesday… we have a baby pantry with diapers, food or car seats. We also have a soup kitchen uptown.”
Small-town operations such as the Mannington Food Bank appreciate every little bit they’re given, and $10,000 is no small amount.
“This [donation] is going to cover us for 6 months to a year of buying food for the food bank,” Morris said. “With everyone being off work and laid off, donations are pretty slow now too, so this is going to help tremendously.”
Having a company like EQT donate really means a great deal to the volunteers at the food bank. But it was made personal when employees came to volunteer.
“I can’t tell you how much [EQT’s] support means to us,” Morris said. “It’s tremendous for them to step up and do this especially at this time. The support is just fantastic and we really do appreciate the help they give us.”
In recent months, the EQT Foundation has donated funds to the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, which provides food items to the Mannington Food Bank and other food pantries in the North Central West Virginia area.