NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s game on to fight hunger in Hampton Roads.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is kicking off the inaugural Hunger Heroes Corporate Food Frenzy & Summer of Service — an initiative aimed at raising food and funds to help feed those in our community facing food insecurity.

The campaign is a partnership with VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, and together, the Foodbank seeks to get local business community involved around efforts to eliminate hunger in the region. 

The CEO of the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Ruth Jones Nichols, says the summer months are a time with families no longer benefit from free or reduced lunch provided at school.

“There are over 87 thousand children who rely on the free and reduced price lunch here in our area,” said Jones Nichols. “We need the business community to rally behind the food bank and our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table in a way that exceeds what we have done in the past.”

And now, the Food Bank is turning to business employees for a healthy competition at a time that is important, after it lost more than a million pounds in donated food from Farm Fresh after all but two local stores closed their doors. Annually, Farm Fresh donated about 1.5 million pounds of food.

“It’s devastating,” said Nichols Jones. “We believe this is an opportunity for the business sector to come together and meet the need.”

Businesses like Jo-Kell Incorporated participate, and its CEO, Suzy Kelly, says employees have been participating in the food drive for decades. 

“Even in our small business, which is about 50 people locally, we collect over two tons of food each year, sometimes three tons of food,” said Kelly.  

It’s simple, put out a bag or decorate a box in the office for employees to donate. 

Bryan Stephens, the president of Hampton Roads Chamber stands behind the cause.

“If you look at how many small and mid-size businesses we have, if just a 1/10 of them do that, we can solve the hunger problem in Hampton Roads.”
If you’d like to participate, you can start collecting your food now and the drop off date is June 9.

According to the Foodbank, points will be added up and winners will be celebrated at an awards event in September. The Foodbank is also accepting cash donations.

Register now: