VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Dozens of cars filled the parking lot of the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater Tuesday morning, waiting for a helping hand.
The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore held a drive-thru food pantry for Virginia Beach residents. Many said boxes of free food will go a long way.
“This is an opportunity for people to have food on their table and make sure everybody eats,” said Virginia Beach resident Pamela Williams, who stopped by the amphitheater for the drive-thru.
These boxes of free food brought many a sigh of relief. Roughly 2,000 boxes of food filled with produce and canned goods filled up the vehicles that came.
Williams said was there to pick up food for a senior citizen she helps.
“Unfortunately in the situation that some of us and some of the senior citizens [are in], the food costs are so much,” she said.
Inflation was also weighing heavily on Deborah Brooks.
“Prices are high," Brooks said. "I’m on a fixed income. I recently lost my husband… So this means a lot, for me to be able to eat for the next month.”
She described the last couple of months as very rough, trying to care for herself and her grandchild.
Brooks said she had to make some changes in order to save money.
"Sometimes I just skip meals to make it work,” Brooks said.
She won't have to do that anymore, thanks to leaders at Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore who organized the pantry.
Foodbank CEO Christopher Tan said the impact of inflation has been bringing in new clients.
“So where inflation has now caused their food budget to shrink, gas is eating into their food budget," Tan said. "They may have never thought of using the foodbank before.”
Brooks said this is part of the start to getting back on her feet.
“It’s going to help a great deal. It’s very touching and moving," she said. "I hope one day I can pay it forward to somebody else.”
The foodbank is experiencing challenges of its own as the cost to get food goes up. Leaders with the foodbank said they don't want to pass the cost along. They said they are working to make sure the entire community is fed.