SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — For the 30th consecutive year, full Thanksgiving meals will be provided to less fortunate families in Hampton Roads at no cost.
On Thursday morning, the Suffolk office of Rose & Womble Realty was filled with thousands of pounds of turkeys, potatoes, canned vegetables and dinner rolls.
Volunteers from the Deltaville Market and United Natural Foods (UNFI) arrived before the sun rose to unload the tractor-trailers and then dived up the food by where the shipments would go.
For several hours churches, non-profits and other businesses conveyed through the lot, filling their trucks and fans with the food as well as a reusable shopping bag and aluminum cooking tray for the turkey.
Bea Cobell, with Rose and Womble, said next organizations will assemble the meals. Then, the fun part occurs.
“A lot of our offices do hand deliver these meals and actually that’s the very best part,” Cobell said. “I mean this is amazing to see all of this going on but then when they actually get the baskets in the hands of people who need it. That is the amazing part.”
Cobell has helped lead the brigade since it first began in 1992 with the delivery of just 25 meals to families. Since 2008, the brigade has given 10,089 baskets that feed a family of six, feeding 60,534 individuals.
This year, they will serve 3,500, which Cobell said is a number slightly less than she wanted.
“We had to keep it at 35 just because of what’s going on right now with groceries and the economy,” Cobell said.
It’s estimated the average Thanksgiving meal will cost 11.4% more than it did last year due to inflation. Cobell estimates her expenses went up 30%.
It’s one of the reasons she thanks all who donated to make the brigade possible. Donations are still being accepted on the Rose and Womble Foundations website.