January 22, 2018
Tabitha Johnston, Journal Staff Writer
MARTINSBURG — Kidz Power Pacs volunteers held hands and prayed in a giant circle Saturday morning, before beginning to pack food for over 900 children in Berkeley and Jefferson County.
Kidz Power Pacs connects with Berkeley and Jefferson County school counselors and teachers to find and feed children who are going without food over weekends and school breaks throughout the year. This initiative is one of many led by Community Combined Ministries, Inc., founded by Diana Wall after a mission trip showed her the needs in El Salvador were similar to those in the Eastern Panhandle.
“All of this is from donations around the county from individuals and businesses,” said volunteer of eight years Bev Yebernetsky. She said her husband, Greg, helps unload the trucks full of groceries into Eagle School Intermediate’s cafeteria every Friday night before the monthly event.
“It’s a great way to help a child who would otherwise be hungry on the weekend,” Yebernetsky said, mentioning her church, New Life Community Church, is one of about 35 who support the ministry. “A child from five years and up can do the packing. It’s only two hours on a Saturday morning once a month, or three hours on a Friday night once a month.”
“Our main focus is a community effort. We do it on Saturday specifically to encourage families to participate,” said CCM secretary and marketing coordinator Becky Fauble, mentioning none of the food is taken from food banks. “We keep consistent with kid-friendly foods, so a lot of our soups and raviolis are easy-open, because some kids don’t have a lot of parent help.”
“Our biggest need right now is prayer. We’re also seeking sponsors, volunteers or anyone who wants to hold a fundraiser,” said Valley View Chapel member Fauble, who has helped with the organization since it was founded 10 years ago. “Teaching our next generation the needs of others and getting them involved in our community is really important. Plus, when you serve you feel a lot of self-worth–children need that.”
“I asked around and put fliers up at school,” said Hedgesville High School senior and volunteer of five years Skyler Morrow, who packed boxes at the event with his mom, Barbara Morrow. He said his efforts seemed to have paid off, because he saw a few of his classmates helping at the event.
“If you can’t come Saturday, Fridays are phenomenal. We have a blast,” said Martinsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church member Melissa Clapper, who, with her husband Terry Clapper, has volunteered with KPP for two years. “We feel this is a very much-needed ministry in our community.
“Just get involved in the community. That helps everybody,” said Automated Mulching & Total Lawn Care owner Terry Clapper.
To learn how you can help, visit https://communitycombined.org/.