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Hundreds show up to drive-thru food pantry in Virginia Beach

Prepacked kits with fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, frozen meats and canned goods were given away to a long line of cars in Virginia Beach.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach residents who are in need of some fresh food ahead of the Christmas holiday received help at the food pantry drive-thru Tuesday morning.

The city's Department of Human Services joined forces with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore to organize the drive. It's a drive-thru event where fresh food will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Cars began lining up as early as before 8 a.m. and volunteers worked to distribute the supplies earlier than the scheduled time in the Human Services Administration Building parking lot.

People who attend are being asked to stay in the cars at all times. Groceries and supplies were prepacked and loaded into the trunks of each car. They packages contain different products like fruits, vegetables, bread, dairy products, frozen meats, canned goods and some other items like pasta, sugar and flour.

The line of cars wrapped all the way through the parking lot, even to Virginia Beach Blvd. where people were re-directed through traffic several times.

President and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeast Virginia and Eastern Shore, Ruth Jones Nichols, says the number of people showing up who are in need of food assistance was not surprising at all.

"The food insecurity rates throughout our service area were at alarming levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic," Ruth Jones Nichols said.

One woman in line, Latoya Nedad, says she works in private healthcare and has three kids, two of whom she takes care everyday.

“Even though I literally work about 16 hours a day, it is still hard trying to find enough money to get enough food and my kids are home everyday,” Nedad said.

She says seeing so many people in line with her shows how dire the need for food is in Virginia Beach, but it also shows her she is not alone in this pandemic.

"It warms my heart,” Nedad remarked. “I like to do what I do to help people, so seeing other people help people...I love it.”

This drive is a product of the Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership between which was set up with an $8 million grant to help Beach residents and small businesses.

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