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Church in Norfolk gets ready to feed more people this Thanksgiving amid rise in food insecurity

Calvary Revival Church planned four pop-up locations for its annual Feed the City event which look a lot different this year due to the pandemic.

NORFOLK, Va. — It’s one of the busiest times at the Calvary Revival Church in Norfolk.

On Wednesday, volunteers spent the day preparing for the church's annual Feed the City event.

The sound of carts rolling and boxes shifting filled every corner of the church’s food storage facility.

Larry Reese was one of the volunteers who helped pack hundreds of boxes to distribute on Thanksgiving Day.

“It’s not about myself, we should be serving love to the community. There are many needs,” said Reese.

Typically, the church serves people hot meals inside of the building, where the community sits together while eating, laughing and praying.

This year’s Feed the City event will look a lot different. The coronavirus pandemic forced the church’s leadership to transform the event into a grab-and-go, drive-thru style setup. 

The church will distribute around 1,000 meals at four different pop-up locations throughout Norfolk, nearly double the amount of meals it has provided in previous years.

RELATED: Norfolk church hosting pop-up parties to give away Thanksgiving meals

Shandesa Jones-Templeman, the communications coordinator at the church said they’re anticipating the need to be much higher this year due to financial uncertainty during the pandemic. 

Beyond a hot Thanksgiving meal, the church has also partnered with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia to provide people with a box filled with a week’s worth of groceries.

“Our thought was: let’s take the meals out into the community, just because people can’t come here doesn’t mean that the need is not still there,” said Jones-Templeman.

“We tried to be intentional about putting those pop-up locations in areas facing a lot of food insecurity.”

The St. Paul’s neighborhood of Norfolk is one of the areas where the church will be distributing on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the Save-A-Lot grocery store off of Church St. closed down, leaving the area without a place to buy groceries within walking distance. It's part of the reason the church is making sure the people it serves will drive off with enough food to last a week.

RELATED: Food distribution centers in the midst of COVID-19 outbreak

“We are all challenged in this time, so people will walk away knowing that the love of Christ is here, and there are caring people here in this local area,” said Reese.

“There’s hope that they don’t have to worry about their children going hungry. God is good.”

The annual Feed the City event will take place at these four locations in Norfolk from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day:

  • Calvary Revival Church parking lot: 5833 Poplar Hall Dr.
  • Sykes Apartments: 555 E. Liberty St.
  • Shell Gas Station: 418 St. Pauls Blvd.
  • Save-A-lot parking lot: 720 Church St.