UniCare, Walmart Organize Circle of Hope to Help Mountain Mission Meet Increased Demand for Assistance

Dec 02, 2010, 12:00 ET from UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc.

CHARLESTON, W.V., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc., the Nitro and South Ridge Walmarts and West Virginia Radio Corporation will be holding the third-annual Circle of Hope to benefit Charleston-based Mountain Mission.

In addition, six elementary schools have been competing over the past four weeks to see if they can collect more food than 2006 World's Strongest Man, Phil Pfister, can lift. Pfister will try to lift the food on Friday, December 3 at West Virginia Radio Corporation's parking lot.

Through the "Circle of Hope" food drive, being held Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4, more than $28,000 in cash and several trailers filled with food are expected to be collected to help thousands of area families pay bills, put food on their tables and clothes on their backs this holiday season.

"Due to the current economic downturn, we are witnessing a significant increase in individuals and families seeking our assistance," said John Roberts, Executive Director of Mountain Mission. "I am overwhelmed that these organizations stepped up to help without even being asked."

Roberts says it takes $100 to feed a family of four this holiday season and his organization will provide food for close to 900 families this holiday.

UniCare Health Plan, West Virginia's largest Medicaid managed care organization, and Walmart have donated $5,000 each to the event. "UniCare has collaborated with Mountain Mission for many years and given the difficult economic challenges so many are experiencing we felt now more than ever, this is the right time to help those in our community," said Mitch Collins, UniCare's Director, Medicaid Field Operations.

Saturday's food drive will move to the Nitro and South Ridge Walmarts where customers will be encouraged to help purchase items needed for the baskets such as boxed stuffing, 10 pound bags of potatoes, canned yams and much more.

"We are proud to work again with John and his team at Mountain Mission," said Rob Greenleaf, the store manager for the Nitro Walmart. "With the economy this year being rough, we wanted to partner with an organization that does great work in the community."

Several other organizations have agreed to make cash contributions to the Circle of Hope event:

  • WV Radio (through donations made by the Trans Siberian Orchestra performance in Charleston) $11,424; IVS Hydro $3,500, BB&T Insurance Services $1,000, The Manahan Group $1,000, Cunningham Parker and Johnson Funeral Home, Inc $500; and FACES of Coal $500.

Friday, December 3, 2010 at West Virginia Radio Corporation, 1111 Virginia Street - 6:00 a.m.6:00 p.m.

12:00 pm– 1:00 pm – 2006 World's Strongest Man Phil Pfister attempts to lift donated food from 6 elementary schools

Saturday, December 4, 2010 – Nitro and South Ridge Walmarts - 9:00 a.m.3:00 p.m.

Roberts says food items needed include boxed turkey dressing, sweet potatoes, fruit cocktail, 10-pound bag of potatoes, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, five-pound bag of sugar and brownie mix. Mountain Mission will also accept cash donations. Mountain Mission will have staff available to provide receipts. This year, financial contributions can also be made online at www.mountainmission.com. Mountain Mission is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that helps more than 9,000 people annually.

About UniCare

UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc. is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. For more information, visit UniCare at www.unicare.com.  ® Registered mark of WellPoint, Inc.

SOURCE UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc.