The Vineyard Ministries runs a non-profit grocery store in the Buckroe Beach section of Hampton. The founders say they saw a need in their community for affordable food, so they opened “The Storehouse.”
The Foodbank of America says 11 percent of people in Virginia are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. In Hampton, that becomes 16 to 26 percent of the population. It’s a statistic a local church community wants to change.
The shelves are stocked with your grocery store staples. “Your meats, your fruits and vegetables, even some herbs,” said Pastor Jacob Hopson.
But The Storehouse is something different. Hopson said, “The Storehouse is the first and only non-profit grocery store in Virginia.”
Hopson and the staff at The Vineyard Ministries started The Storehouse back in 2015. Once a month, parishioners shopped for food at a discounted rate.
“We saw that it was blessing our members and this was something we felt like needed to be seen in the local community,” Hopson said.
So last year, they opened up to the public. Hopson said, “This is not for low-income families, it’s for all families. This is not for Christians, this is for everybody.”
It’s for people like Leo Smith, who has been a loyal customer for more than one year.
“The friendship and community, the love that you feel when you come in, like the pastor was saying, they have their shop helpers,” said Leo Smith. “Where else are you going to get that?”
Last year, The Storehouse helped 10,000 families. They’re hoping to hit that same number in six months. Going into summer, they know the need will only increase.
“In the richest country in the world, there should not be a need,” Hopson said. “There should not be a child that looks forward to school because they know that’s the only meal they’re going to get.”
Donations and money raised at church pay for all of the food. Hopson hopes one day The Storehouse will pay for itself. Until then, they’ll continue to help their neighbors, one meal at a time.
“We’re just trying to be a blessing to as many people as we possibly can,” Hopson said.
Hopson has eyes on the future — with half an acre of land to farm in Franklin, and a trailer for hydroponics.
To help or donate, you can text “TVCVA” to 77977. You can also download their app called “The Vineyard Ministries.”
The Storehouse is open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday – Friday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday. The address is 1529 E Pembroke Ave, Hampton, Va. and you can call them at (757) 328-9380.