HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A local food bank in Hampton held its annual food drive in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
For some, the holiday is just another day off of work, but for others it’s a day of service — a day to give back to the community.
It’s been more than 50 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, but his memory lives on, on days like today. Volunteers at the Peninsula Food Bank hope their service continues to bring hope into their communities.
“We give out so much food from the food bank during the holiday season that afterwards, the shelves are empty… What we try to do is on Martin Luther King Day say ‘Lets replenish the shelves,'” said Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan.
This year’s food drive was its fourth for the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank in Hampton, which ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday.
More than 100 volunteers showed up to give back to their community in honor of the man who stood for the same values. They fed more than 25,000 meals.
They packed over 1,500 backpack bags of food to go home with children over the weekend; over 1,500 mobile pantry bags to be distributed to low income residents; almost 500 Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes for low-income seniors; and several pallets of family-sized bags of sweet potatoes.
“I think if you know the history of Martin Luther King, and one for the questions he mostly asked is ‘What are you doing for others?’ And I think this is an important way of not only honoring him, but serving the community as well,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley Price.
For some like Andrew Council, that holds a bigger weight.
“It’s a wonderful day, as any day is, just to come out and be able to give back. But on a day like this especially … as an African American male, to give back and to be able to do something positive in the community, especially with all the negative connotations, it’s a wonderful opportunity,” he said.
For other volunteers, they just wanted to make a difference.
“I think it’s important that we volunteer everyday. You have to give back to the community, and you have to help those who are possibly less fortunate and if you have the time and the energy, I think it’s upon you to do it,” said Susie Mowry.
The food drive event was sponsored by Newport News Mayor Mckinley Price, Congressman Bobby Scott. Delegate Marcia Price, Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan Riverside health System, and the Virginia Unity project.
Last year’s events brought over 26,000 meals.