Local Lifestyle

Hospice prepares for annual snack pack project

In just a couple of short weeks, Hospice of the Panhandle’s Education Center, will be transformed into a snack distribution center. And the end result will be that 15,000 snacks, ranging from granola bars to raisins to potato chips to candy, will be distributed to Hospice providers and supporters as a thank you to supporters of Hospice near Valentine’s week.

Each year around Valentine’s Day for more than 30 years, members of local churches, volunteers and other hospice supporters have baked hundreds of dozens of cookies and donated them to the Hospice of the Panhandle’s annual Valentine’s Day Cookie Project.

Two years ago, in the throes of COVID-19, the project was suspended for a year, but then restarted last year, taking a different form.

The community – churches, volunteers and many others – brought individually wrapped snacks to the Hospice office at 330 Hospice Lane in Kearneysville, or to Hospice’s Romney office at 278 North High Street.

“While we recognize that many people loved and miss the cookies, people seemed to really appreciate the snacks, which are more varied and can stay fresh for a longer period of time,” said Volunteer Services Manager Katrina Stevens.

The same project will occur this year.

Hospice is asking community members to bring in individually wrapped snacks from now until February 6. After they are collected and boxed by hospice volunteers, the snacks will be delivered to area physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and many others who help care for hospice patients and support the organization throughout the year.

Hospice volunteer Mary Duke has been packing cookies for this project for more than a decade.

“This is such a wonderful project,” Duke said. “To be able to thank those who support Hospice of the Panhandle is so important.”

Hospice volunteer Ruth Bradley came to help several years ago to the project and has been amazed at the sheer number of snacks that are donated.

“It’s absolutely awesome,” Bradley said, “The packing process is down to a science.”

According to Stevens, dozens of volunteers assure that this project runs smoothly.

“We anticipate more than 50 churches and organizations to take part,” Stevens said. “And once the volunteers get involved in assembling and packing hundreds of boxes, it’s nothing short of amazing.”

Those who receive the boxes often greet deliverers with a huge smile.

“The cookie project – and now the snack project – has been a rich part of our history for many years,” said Hospice of the Panhandle CEO Margaret Cogswell. “The project wouldn’t be possible without our amazing donors of the snacks, packers and those who make the deliveries. We are so grateful to all who make this project, one of our signature events, a success.”

Hospice of the Panhandle, a not-for-profit organization, has been caring for seriously ill patients and their families in the four eastern counties of West Virginia for 43 years. To make a donation to the Snack project, simply drop off individually wrapped snacks to 330 Hospice Lane in Kearneysville or to 278 N. High Street in Romney.