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Hampton Roads food bank distribution sites running out of food, seeing thousands of newcomers

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore says the coronavirus crisis has led to an increased demand for food but a decrease in donations.

NORFOLK, Va. — No one should go hungry but because of the COVID19 pandemic, some food bank distribution sites are running out of food.

The president and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Dr. Ruth Jones-Nichols says more and more people are showing up at food distributions.

“At two of our new locations, we ran out of the food that was sent to that site because we saw an increase in the number of folks who showed up,” Dr. Jones-Nichols said.

And many of them, she said, have never needed help before.

“Many of those folks have not visited a food pantry or soup kitchen or food bank site in the past,” she said. “We’re already struggling to put food on their tables in addition to people who now need to find themselves in need of assistance.”

She said they served close to 6,000 families in the past two and a half weeks. That’s newcomers needing assistance on top of the families the Foodbank usually helps.

“It’s thousands in terms of the new folks but then there are already thousands in terms of the folks who are chronically experiencing hunger and food insecurity,” Dr. Jones-Nichols said.

Dr. Jones-Nichols says the demand is not entirely unexpected. She anticipated a spike in demand as a result of school closures, unemployment, and growing anxiety over the coronavirus.

A $70,000 donation from Food Lion, means the non-profit can give out two weeks’ worth of meals to the community, but they need more help.

They’re asking the community to donate money. It takes as little as one dollar for officials to stretch that money to make sure families aren’t going hungry.

According to a news release from the Foodbank: "Due to food shortages and cancelled fundraising events, among other factors, the Foodbank is paying $3.50 per meal -- a massive increase from the usual $0.40 per meal."

The release says there is an "urgent need" for monetary donations.

You can donate online at the Food Bank's website.

The website also has a list of distribution centers.

If you are a senior citizen who wants to schedule a food bank delivery to your home, the Food Bank asks that you coordinate with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia.

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