- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2020

PINEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Dozens of West Virginia families are benefiting from a partnership between West Virginia University Extension Service and a food pantry in the southern part of the state.

The partnership started a few years ago with an educational backyard garden project for clients of Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry outside Pineville in Wyoming County. That project continues to help around 100 families, but organizer Arnold Simonse wanted to do more.

He recruited WVU Extension Service Poultry Specialist Joe Moritz. WVU said in a news release that over the last two years, they have provided families with education, building plans and materials, proper feed and baby chicks to start small backyard poultry operations to more than 30 Wyoming County families.

Some of the families sell extra eggs to neighbors and local businesses or trade them for chicken feed. One of the original project participants, Lonnie McKinney, has grown his operation and provides more than a thousand eggs a month for the food pantry. He says the project has been good for him since he’s no longer able to work.

The project is entering its third year. New families will be added to the project, and existing participants will be able to expand or diversify their operations.

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