The Pantry Plus More volunteers during a food drive

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season will be here faster than you can say, “Wasn’t it just summer?” Before stocking up on Halloween candy, prepping the Thanksgiving turkey with all the fixins, and shopping for everyone on your list, take a moment to give the most important gift: your time. Here are five great ways to give back in Morgantown.

Christian Help is a perennial Best of Morgantown Best Charity/Nonprofit winner, and for good reason. The nonprofit offers a free store with everything from clothes to housewares, a full food pantry, and emergency financial assistance. Donate an hour or a day by helping with donation distribution, food orders, and more. Or lend your expertise in its financial, nutritional, and job training classes. Walnut Street walk-ins are welcome, but you can also fill out its online volunteer form

Soak in a little last-minute sunshine at the WVU Core Arboretum’s Work Day Wednesdays. A crew cleans trails, makes sure drains flow freely, and removes invasive species every week from 4 to 7 p.m. Lace up your sneakers and dress to get dirty! Spots are limited so visit the Core Arboretum’s website or register on iServe.

Whether walking or running, biking or rollerblading, we love our rail-trails. Pitch in to make sure they stay fabulous with the Mon River Trails Conservancy. For the hands-on doers, clean up trash or organize a group to build a bench or weather shelter. For the creative-minded, work behind the scenes by snapping pics or designing media. Even if you can’t squeeze anything else in this autumn, mark your calendars for the first Saturday next June to help at the Deckers Creek Trail Half-Marathon. Whatever your interest, let Ella Belling know at ella@montrails.org or 304.692.6782.

School may be back in session but childhood hunger doesn’t end when summer does. The Pantry Plus More’s goal is to help end hunger and give every child the opportunity to succeed in learning. The program runs in-school pantries where students can “shop” for free for food, hygiene products, and school supplies. Check out its website for needed goods or to contribute financially. Working with this A-plus, all-volunteer organization is also just a click away.

Got some know-how and a passion for our city? Consider serving on one of the city of Morgantown’s boards and commissions. Positions come available often and are currently open on the: 

  • Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Fire Code Board of Appeals
  • Human Rights Commission 
  • Metropolitan Theatre Commission
  • Morgantown Utility Board  
  • Sister Cities Commission
  • Woodburn School Redevelopment Commission

Dates and details vary—visit the website for more.

No matter your time, talent, or interest, anyone can get involved in Morgantown.


Photograph courtesy of The Pantry Plus More

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Written by Jess Walker
Jess Walker came to West Virginia to pursue her master’s degree in English, but stayed for the culture, nature, and stories. She writes for WV Living and Morgantown magazines. Her best ideas happen when she’s outdoors, preferably near a river and with a cup of coffee in hand.