In a small town like Morgantown, West Virginia, the feeling of community runs deep, and residents pride themselves on their ability to rally around and support their neighbors in times of need.
The West Virginia Black Bears are no exception. On Tuesday, the Black Bears announced they’re stepping up to the plate to combat hunger in the Greater Morgantown area with “The Bear Necessities for a Good Cause” food drive benefiting Pantry Plus More. The food drive begins Wednesday, February 1, and ends Tuesday, February 28, with multiple drop-off locations around Morgantown.
“We’re excited to be holding our first community event of the year and working with Pantry Plus More,” said General Manager Leighann Sainato. “We’re always looking for ways to give back to our community. Partnering with Pantry Plus More allows us to make a meaningful impact while working with a fantastic local organization.”
Established in 2016, Pantry Plus More is a non-profit organization that provides non-perishable food items and other essential products to public school children and their families with an in-school pantry. Their in-school pantries are in eleven elementary and middle schools, serving hundreds of families in Monongalia County.
“We noticed a lot of food drives during the holidays and fewer larger local drives during the early spring and summer. Because we’re a baseball team and primarily operate during those seasons, it seemed like a perfect fit,” Sainato explained.
The Black Bears’ month-long food drive runs through February and features four special Saturday events scheduled at select partner drop-off locations. Events will be held at The Wow! Factory on February 4, Mylan Park Aquatic Center on February 11, Monongalia County Ballpark on February 18, and Perfectionals Barbershop on February 25.
Fans who attend and donate during the Saturday events will receive free ticket vouchers valid for any Black Bears game during the 2023 season, discounts on goods and services at the drop-off locations, and more. Details for each event will be released closer to the event date at WestVirginiaBlackBears.com and on the Black Bears’ social media accounts.
All participants may enter a grand prize giveaway for two 2023 season tickets, official Black Bears merchandise and autographed memorabilia, and on-field game day experiences. Giveaway registration is available only at each drop-off location, and a winner will be announced on March 7.
Though the food drive fills a need right now, it is only the first of several planned community initiatives for the Black Bears this year. They are fully committed to putting their efforts back into Mon County, however possible.
“We planned to host a food drive after the holidays because we know there’s a need,” said Sainato. “If there’s a need, we want to try to fill it. That’s what it means to be part of this community. They’ve always supported us, and we’re here to support them. It’s what good neighbors do.”