Civic service project aims to help those in need in the community


GRAFTON—The Taylor County community has become known as a place where people band together to help out those in need, and one local is hoping that generosity will help fuel a special project.

Megan Nielson has been serving as an AmeriCorps member for numerous years, aiding Olive Ricketts at the Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society.

As a member of the AmeriCorps organization, she must complete service projects, and for her second project, she has set her sights on helping those who need assistance in the community.

The project, a community drive, will call on residents to donate items for the less fortunate or those down on their luck. An added benefit, leftover items will be used to further that agenda, through the Bread of Life mission.

The collection is set to take place on Saturday, July 30, from 8:00 a.m. until noon, in the parking lot of the Taylor County Courthouse Annex #2, the Tony J. Veltri Building, located at 214 West Main Street, Grafton.

Nielson, along with some helpful volunteers, will be collecting shelf-stable items such as canned fruit and vegetables, ketchup, peanut butter, jelly, breakfast bars, soups, saltine crackers, drink mixes and cookies.

Personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, and cleaning products like Clorox, Clorox wipes, Windex, dishwasher detergent, dish soap and the like will also be taken.

Once items have been sorted, Bread of Life Mission volunteers will help distribute donations to community members during the project’s pick-up period from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

“Any items that are left over after the distribution will be donated to the Bread of Life Mission,” Nielson revealed. “So please come out and donate, tell your friends and family and those you know who are in need right now. We look forward to seeing you there!”

When deciding on her service project, Nielson said she pulled from past experiences.

“The food drive idea spawned out of my childhood experiences. I grew up Catholic attending Saint Augustine with my family, and every now and then, the church would have a designated day when they would serve at the mission,” she disclosed.

And because of the fond memories she recalled of serving at the mission, she decided that organization would be at the heart of her project.

“I remember really enjoying talking to the people that came in, and it was nice to be of help to those around me,” Nielson explained. “So, the familiarity was a driver as well as thinking this was something that could benefit the community right now especially because of the after effects of COVID, along with surging food prices.”

Through the community drive, she hopes that those who find themselves in a position to help will do so, whether through donating for signing up as a volunteer.

“Things are hard for so many right now, and it has made me concerned about donations. But I’m hopeful that it will turn out good,” Nielson voiced. “This entire project is based on public trust that people will come out and donate. I’m also hopeful that this will make those in the community more aware of the mission and the fact that it’s there if they need assistance.”

Those interested in helping out, or those with questions may call 304-265-5549.

Nielson, who serves part-time through the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV), shared that this project will help her complete her AmeriCorps program.

“There are requirements that we must meet to successfully leave the program, and two covic service projects are a part of that,” she explained. “But they’re a really good way to reach out to and get to know the community you’re serving.”

AmeriCorps is a program that offers both part-time and full-time positions with organizations ranging from education and tourism to preservation and much more. In fact, it has been deemed as a driver in WV employment.

For more information about AmeriCorps, please visit https://americorps.gov. 

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