NORFOLK, Va. — The season of giving is underway before the holidays in Hampton Roads. This weekend, several local organizations held food giveaways and others collected food and money to help families in need.
For many people, the help comes at a good time, as families across the country tackle inflation and a higher cost of living.
“Just not being able to be like, 'Oh, I have $5 left. Do I have to choose between gas and food?' And then there's a place like this giving out a meal. It’s something that is given by God," said Norfolk resident, Charles Pouliot.
Salvation Army officials handed out thousands of turkeys on Saturday.
“Yesterday we were able to give about 2,000 turkeys," said Salvation Army of Hampton Roads Area Commander Donald Dohmann.
Then on Sunday, volunteers distributed 1,200 hot meals for people in need, like Charles Pouliot.
“Oh, it helps in multiple ways. Rather than go deep in my pocket, I only make like $500 a week and that will be over $250 in food. I spend $50 bucks on getting a couple of groceries that wasn't even enough to fill two bags," said Pouliot.
Researchers at the American Farm Bureau Federation said Thanksgiving dinner will cost 20 percent more than it did last year.
“We had a lot of people before inflation became rampant that were just getting by. But once inflation took hold, they got pushed into the realm of food insecurity," said Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore Communications Senior Director David Brandt.
Members of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore said more families will have meals for the holidays because of their Mayflower Marathon donation event over the weekend.
“At this point, we're at 730,000 meals and counting when you factor money and food donated," said Brandt.
Brandt mentioned many that many families who are coming for food are asking for assistance for the first time.
Brandt added that the organization handed out almost 2 million pounds of food in October, which is a 36 percent more than the same time last year.