Local food bank and VB human services host food drive Tuesday

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — Even as coronavirus case numbers fall, the economy has not yet healed from the pandemic. Food insecurity is still a very real thing.

Leaders held a drive-thru food pantry at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach Tuesday afternoon, giving hungry residents access to fresh food in a socially distant manner.

Cars lined up for fresh food on a first-come, first-served basis for a mobile food pantry drive-thru style.

Serving fresh produce and goods is one of the ways leaders hope to address the food insecurities in this community.

“I needed it,” said Kenji Blades.

Blades said she spent only 30 minutes waiting in line Tuesday, but she says spending those 30 minutes is what will make the difference.

“I’m a senior citizen. I haven’t worked since March of last year, so my funds have been getting low,” she said.

She, like hundreds of other families who stopped by the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach Tuesday, need a little extra help when it comes to eating. The Virginia Beach Department of Human Resources jumped at the idea to help.

“It’s part of the population we serve in human services. The SNAP benefit program is just a portion of what we do and I think it’s an extension of that work,” said Bryan Clark, with the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services.

They began preparing for Tuesday’s massive food drive with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore weeks ago. Seeing all the food packed into cars Tuesday brought their efforts full circle.

“It’s kind of a twofold. You’re glad that you can be a part of something to help these individuals and families, but it’s also a stark reminder of the circumstances that we are in,” said Clark.

Circumstances like that of Blades.

“I lost my job because of COVID, yes,” said Blades.

But she, too, said receiving the food Tuesday was the relief she needed.

“It’s been stressful, but this has been a blessing and then the lord has been blessing, and you know, so many programs and stuff. So I’m really grateful for the resources that are available and offered,” she said.

If you’d like more information on how to donate or when the next food drive click here.

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