VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from September 2021, when the foodbank opened a new community hub.
A line of cars drove away with stuffed trunks in Tuesday morning’s drive-thru pantry at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach.
“I know what I’m eating tonight – turkey wings!” said resident Holly Miles.
Miles is one of many who got up early and waited in line to collect food.
“It’s a blessing to know that people care enough to make sure people eat," she said.
The drive-thru pantry is a partnership between the City of Virginia Beach's Department of Human Services and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. Each household received 60 pounds of food.
Some items included fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and canned goods.
Virginia Beach City Council voted to provide an initial $8 million grant to launch the Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership in 2020. Part of that money helped to develop the partnership with the foodbank and other area nonprofits, to provide direct relief to Virginia Beach residents.
More than 120,000 pounds of food is expected to help many families in the Hampton Roads area.
Bryan Clark with the city of Virginia Beach said this is the sixth drive-thru pantry to happen during the pandemic. He said although the impact of the pandemic is dwindling, grocery prices aren’t.
“The problem now is the cost of everything is just, it’s soaring," he said. "So, if a year ago, you were already having difficulty making ends meet, it just got that much harder now.”
As the city and the foodbank work to help neighbors, the foodbank is also facing challenges of its own.
"Last year, we spent about $1.8 million on purchasing food that wasn’t being donated in the way of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, dairy," said David Brandt, the senior director of communications with the foodbank. "This year we’re treading towards almost $5 million.”
Though, that burden doesn’t stop the foodbank from continuing to serve others. Brandt said partnerships like the one with the city help to bear that load.
“We really value what they’re doing to help us help so many people,” he said.
Miles said she was ready to give back too, by cooking up her food and serving it to others.
If you missed the event, you can head to a foodbank near you. You can figure out where the nearest one is here.