By Rev. Maria Wiblin,
Pastor, Fairmont State University Wesley Foundation,
Masontown UMC & Bethlehem UMC, MonValley District,
WVUMC Communications Team at-large member
“Rev. Maria, you don’t know how much Free Lunch means to me! I don’t know how to thank you!”
I hear these words often coming from the lips of grateful students; students who might otherwise go hungry without our Free Lunch program.
Free lunch started out as a ministry of the Wesley House for students of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College. It was served every Thursday and the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month.
The president of Fairmont State met with me and several others over a concern about students who were not eating three meals a day. Fairmont State has a large population of students who come from families living below the West Virginia poverty line. Of first-time, full-time students, 49% receive Pell grants for financial need. To receive Pell grants the family income is at or below $27,842, so, many of our students do not get much extra financial help from their families.
Together, the group came up with a plan to expand the Free Lunch program to serve every Monday, Thursday, and Friday and the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. The university’s food service was able to dedicate a weekly donation of food to support the program.
Free Lunch continues to grow, feeding an average of 100-150 students each week.
To learn more about the Wesley Foundation at FSU, visit https://www.fairmontstate.edu/so/wesleyfoundation/default.asp.