PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – At Oasis Social Ministry, it’s all about packing. Packing food into bags and boxes, and packing as many deliveries of that food into a shrinking window of time before the bad weather arrived.

Executive Director Jo-Anne Roisen wears sneakers for good reason. She was running around the food pantry/kitchen/warehouse on Williamsburg Avenue Thursday trying to beat the clock. Oasis delivers food and feeds seniors and the less fortunate. She’d normally have a lot of deliveries set for the weekend.

“I know that our seniors are really counting on it. They have no way to get out in the storm,” Roisen said, barely pausing to catch her breath as she scurried back and forth through the operation, checking bags of groceries, coordinating volunteers and lifting boxes of food. “I want to get (the deliveries) out the door before we leave here today and make sure they’ve got their groceries for the weekend and the week.”

While the food was going out, people were coming in, the walk-ins picking up prepared meals.

“We had more yesterday and today than we normally do. I haven’t even had a chance to do the numbers yet,” Roisen said.

Robert Slaughter lives nearby and arrived to pick up lunch.

“Things are tough out here and I’m going through tough times, so to have a place like this reminds me that there are good people and they want to help,” he said.

Oasis has a staff of about eight people and volunteers help with deliveries, but Roisen still has to do a lot of the heavy lifting herself. She hoists onto a cart one of many boxes of canned goods and other groceries that come from the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, one of several partner agencies.

“This is almost as good exercise as shoveling snow,” Roisen said.

Last year Oasis delivered more than 175,000 meals according to its website. If you’re interested in volunteering, find out about opportunities, at this link.