HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Thanksgiving can remind people of what they have, but many go without — food.
“Hunger is here all year round,” said Chris Tan, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, and The Eastern Shore, President and CEO. “A lot of people think that COVID[-19] was really the height of what we would need in our community, but really we’re seeing about a 30% increase in our line since then.”
The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia in Norfolk in struggling, and so is Oasis Social Ministry in Portsmouth.
“We’re down on our donations about 50-60% from where we were last year,” said Cathy Davis, executive director of the Oasis Social Ministry. “We’ve seen a 216% increase in the number of people asking for food.”
More people to feed means a greater need.
“Anything that would be on your Thanksgiving table, we would love,” Tan said.
And other non-perishables like pasta, sauces and the ever-popular Mac and Cheese. Oasis Social Ministry likes to go beyond just food.
“We also have a dire need for hygiene items,” Davis said. “So, shampoo, soap, razors — these are the items that people sometimes don’t understand can’t be bought with food stamps and people will forgo those items.”
Oasis Social Ministry runs a soup kitchen every day of the year. Friday, Nov. 10, they had volunteers from RMGS through the Hansen Family Foundation handing out those meals.
These days 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and organizations are understanding to those who needs help.
“A lot of people need help at different times in their life,” Tan said. “Maybe it’s a medical crisis, maybe it’s just getting laid off or furloughed, it could be a number of factors.”
Davis said it’s important to take away the stigma of asking for help.
Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is hosting their Mayflower Marathon Nov. 17-19 at Lynnhaven Mall and the Kroger Marketplace in Suffolk, and will be accepting donations to either location.
Oasis Social Ministry is needing extra help on Thanksgiving Day — the group scheduled to help hand out meals that day had to cancel and Kathy Davis is now looking for helping hands Thursday. She can be reached at 757-397-6060.
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