Virginia Peninsula Foodbank meets 60% increase in need with drive-thru food distributions

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va (WAVY) — Things may be opening up, but the struggle remains very real for thousands of people around Hampton Roads and beyond.

Some are still having trouble putting food on the table. Food banks are taking notice, and are continuing drive-thru help.

The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has seen a more than 60-percent increase in the people they need to serve in their community since the coronavirus pandemic hit Hampton Roads. On Wednesday, the food bank held another drive-thru food distribution at its distribution center. They say they’ve had more food and seen more cars.

The volunteers are happy to help, but it’s the people who are receiving the food who are the most grateful.

The staff and volunteers with the food bank wanted to make sure people leave their distribution with food and a smile.

“You couldn’t of asked for a bunch of nicer people,” said Eric Craig.

“We have enough food for 400 households, now it all depends on how big the households are, but on average, people who get food assistance get three people in their household. So this will serve at least 1,200 people. It’s probably close to 25,000 pounds of food,” said Chief Executive Officer Karen Joyner.

She said since the pandemic started to impact Hampton Roads, they’ve seen a need in their community go up by 60 percent. So, they are using the drive-thru distribution method to move things along smoothly.

“There are so many people who are in need, particularly in need of food especially during this pandemic. Through no cause of their own, there are people who have gotten laid off or furloughed, people who can’t find jobs anymore because businesses have been closed,” she said.

Craig picked up some food Wednesday. He admits, it’s not the easiest thing to do.

“Having to go under my pride a little bit. It makes it a lot easier to have people who actually care and love you and want to help you,” he said.

Joyner said it has not been easy getting all the food they need to help the community, but feelings they see in people like Craig make it worth the hard work.

“It was very easy, very kind. When you pull up and people tell you that ‘Here you go, thank you and we love you,’ it means a lot,” said Craig.

And he hopes that anyone who needs help will take the first step like him, and just ask for help.

“Swallow that pride. It’s hard for me. I’ve never asked for help. Now it’s you gotta for it every now and again and there are people that care out here,” he said.

Joyner says she is happy to see how well the distribution went Wednesday but they do have other distributions happening later this week. If you’d like more information on how to find them or how to contact the food bank click here.

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