HAMPTON, Va. — Amid COVID-19, livelihoods have been disrupted— and there may be more new faces of hunger than ever before.
“About sixty-eight percent of the people that we've served over the past three to four weeks... is new to the foodbank or our partner agencies,“ says Karen Joyner, the CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, which has been distributing food to individuals and families in need for nearly 35 years.
Joyner says some of its distribution sites may be closed, but its community outreach is still full speed ahead.
“The Foodbank has had to do more and more direct service in order to reach not only the new people who are in our lines but the people who were depending on our partner agencies in the past,” says Joyner.
In addition to no-contact mobile drive-thru food pantries, the foodbank’s Backpack and Kids Cafe programs help children that are missing meals due to school closures.
And its large-scale public distribution events assist those struggling to get healthy food.
“We'll take three trucks out to these locations,“ says Joyner, “and we're able to serve between four hundred and five hundred households.”
But Joyner says some of the mobile pantry sites alone have seen as much as a 90% increase in attendance during the coronavirus. The food bank is now asking for the community’s help. Monetary gifts help purchase more meals, food donations help rebuild inventory, and volunteers help get the food to those that need it the most.
“Eventually, we are going to go through our inventory and if we don't have purchased food to give out, then, unfortunately, the people that we serve are going to suffer,” says Joyner. “Help us restock our shelves as we deplete our inventory through these mass food distributions.”
Joyner says Peninsula residents have always been there for the food bank when it’s needed support and resources. And during this time of uncertainty, The foodbank will be there for them.
“The foodbank isn't just here during good times. We're here during the disaster times as well,” says Joyner.
“And this just demonstrates the importance of the foodbanks around the country and what we do.”
More than 200 other local nonprofits need your support as part of the Give Local 757 initiative to spark local philanthropy. By donating, you’ll help them continue to help the community recover from this crisis. Please go to https://www.givelocal757.org/.