VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Every year right before Thanksgiving, food banks across Hampton Roads work to take hunger out of the holidays.
The Mayflower Marathon Food Drive kicks off Friday morning and volunteers with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, and Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, will collect food and money for more than 50 hours straight.
A big delivery kicked off the Mayflower Marathon food drive this year. On Thursday, staff members with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore unloaded more than 8,000 pounds of chicken donated by Purdue.
“It is the biggest drive that we have all year round,” said Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia CEO Christopher Tan.
Tan said all food collected goes straight to a family in need before Thanksgiving Day.
“Between food donations and monetary donations, over half a million pounds of food will be donated through this,” Tan said.
But the bulk of the donations will come from the food drive itself over the next three days.
“We do it every single year because the food banks really do need the help during the holiday season,” said 106.9 The Fox Marketing Director Sonja Morrell.
Folks at Fm99 and 106.9 The Fox have organized the giving for 26 years, which also benefits the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank.
“Everybody really works together,” Morrell said. “You know, COVID was challenging for a lot of families and now we are looking at the challenge of inflation and gas prices.”
Morrell said every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference.
“We are looking for turkeys, that is huge for the foodbanks,” Morrell said. “Also nonperishable food items and money because the foodbanks can stretch a dollar a little bit more than the average person can.”
There are four donation sites:
- Pembroke Mall (behind Target)
4554 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
- Kroger Marketplace
1017 University Blvd.
Suffolk, VA 23435
5007-2 Victory Blvd, Tabb/Yorktown
1050 W. Mercury Blvd, Hampton
“You’ll literally be able to drive up, you don’t even need to get out of your car, volunteers will unload,” Morrell said.
Last year, the drive collected enough food and funds to provide more than 800,000 meals to families in need.
“If you have a little bit extra this year, we really could use it,” Tan said. “Donations are down in general for the foodbanks and so, we want to make sure that the neighbors we have in need get fed this year.”
The Mayflower Marathon Food Drive has two 24-hour locations: one at the Pembroke Mall site in Virginia Beach and the other at the Kroger at Coliseum Central in Hampton. Both locations will open at 5:30 a.m. on Friday and won’t close until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
You can also donate money to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, and Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.