NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Tuesday, volunteers at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia loaded up thousands of pounds of food for partner organizations to feed community members across the region.

The food was donated in the Mayflower Marathon, a 23-year-old tradition that raises money for area foodbanks. This year, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and Virginia Peninsula Foodbank will provide more than 730,000 meals thanks to the fundraiser.

David Brandt, spokesman for the foodbank, said that the community is in dire need of donations, amid inflation and rising food costs.

“There is definitely an increased need. When inflation started rearing its ugly head earlier this year, we saw a lot of people who were just getting by before inflation took effect. Now they’re being pushed into the realm of food insecurity,” Brandt said.

The meals are distributed to churches, food pantries, and soup kitchens. Brandt said the partner organizations are experiencing an influx of customers.

“Do you pay a utility bill or do you pay for food? Do you pay for a prescription or do you pay for food? No one wants to be in that position. We don’t want people in that position,” Brandt said.

Several Navy sailors from the Commander Submarine Group 2 spent the day loading boxes. Lt. Commander LeRoy Aimes is from Norfolk, and says he knows just how great the need for food assistance is.

“I’m from here. I know some of these people in need. It warms my heart to give back to them,” Aimes said. “A lot of these sailors probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to go back home so they wanna give back to the community.”

Giving Tuesday is on Nov. 29. Charities across the country will solicit for donations. To donate to Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, visit foodbankonline.org. To donate to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, click here.