Portsmouth organization asks for donations to continue feeding thousands during pandemic


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — No work, and grocery stores still struggling to keep up with panic buying, means it’s tough for many families to put food on the table. That’s where Mercy Drops Dream Center in Portsmouth steps in.

Volunteers handed out 5,000 meals per week over the last four weeks, and the need has obviously not stopped. WAVY.com introduced you to the volunteers of Mercy Drops Dream Center four weeks ago.

Founder Joe Friszolowski says, at the time, they planned to hand out pre-made lunches to more than 500 children in the eight neighborhoods they serve including: Dale Homes, Swanson Homes and a local mobile home park.

Well, those four weeks have come to an end and Joe says the lines are growing, and so is the need.

They now distribute groceries to those areas a couple days a week as well, handing out fresh food like produce. They partner with Operation Blessing to get the food pallets. Joe says they usually just pick up one pallet, but over the last four weeks, they’ve picked up close to 15.

As the need for food grows, so does the need for donations from the public.

“Number one, for the lunches, help out with peanut butter and jelly, help out with bread, Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, little cereal boxes, and Chef Boyardees. We have drop-off locations at different places throughout the area, churches and companies that we partner with, and then people can help donate. Go to our website, MercyDrops.life, and support that, and specifically say lunches or groceries, and that money will specifically go to that, because it’s definitely increased. We’re living by faith, and definitely prayer — that’s huge. And the volunteering, if they have the ability to come out because our capacity going out has just stepped up,” Joe said.

The food distribution is going to go through the end of August, and if school doesn’t reopen in early September, Joe says they may have to continue. He says Mercy Drops will not let children go hungry.

“The mission and the goal of Mercy Drops Dream Center is to find the forgotten and help them build a foundation so they can flourish in life. Basically, we go out and we find the people, whether they are experiencing homelessness, whether they’re living in under-resourced neighborhoods, whether they’re veterans, or in foster care, we’re all about literally going to the streets and finding these individuals who feel like they’ve been forgotten,” Joe said.

If you would like to donate food or money to Mercy Drops Dream Center, or volunteer your time to the organization, click here.

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