HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – In this Community Chat, WAVY’s Sarah Goode speaks to Karen Joyner, CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, about the organization and food insecurity.

The organization and its many partner agencies work to feed the community through pantries, mobile pantries, backpack programs, and other resources.

Food Insecurity on the Rise

In Hampton Roads, food insecurity is rising.

Joyner said, “Our agencies have seen a 15-20% increase in the number of households who are coming to our doors. You know, it’s the perfect storm, we’re getting fewer food donations, more people need us, and the costs are going up”.

Emergency Benefits Ending

With the additional SNAP benefits planned to end in March, households will no longer receive the emergency allotment. Based on current statistics, Joyner shared that the average amount a household received in additional benefits was $187. The loss of these funds will bring more people to the Foodbank’s lines.

Need for Nutritional Food

Over Joyner’s time at the Foodbank, they have increased the nutritional value of food provided to the community. Some items donated, particularly after holidays, include candy, cookies, and other treats. They want to balance this assortment by purchasing fresh produce and whole foods.

$1 Goes a Long Way

Financial donations, government funding, and volunteers are crucial. Joyner says, with donations, funding, and corporate and grocery store partners, for every $1 donated to the Foodbank they are able to create three meals. This is also achievable because of volunteer labor. She encourages those who are able, to volunteer at the Foodbank for a three hour shift.

Visit the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank’s website here. The site offers options if you need food, want to volunteer, or are able to donate. Watch the video in the player to hear more from the conversation.

Tune in to the WAVY Digital Desk Community Chat each Thursday at 2 p.m.