Ocean View food pantries seeing spike in need after local Farm Fresh closes


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Several Ocean View residents tell 10 On Your Side they are still desperately waiting for a new grocery store to open after the sudden closure of Farm Fresh months ago. 

Residents say they were told a Harris Teeter would be put in its place in 8 or 9 months, but there’s still no word on whether or not the store will go in its place.

10 On Your Side reached out to a spokeswoman with Harris Teeter on Thursday and she said there is no new announcement to be made. 

Gary Brown says he has lived in Ocean View since 2004 and he’s never had trouble getting food — until now. Johanna Christiansen tells 10 On Your Side that she is in the same boat. 

“I can’t hit Farm Fresh no more and I don’t have anywhere to shop anymore. It was quick, easy because I don’t have a car.”

She’s one of several Ocean View residents who is relying on the food pantry at the Advent Episcopal Church in Ocean View. 

Marcia Murbock is the Food Pantry manager of a the pantry which is open two days a week, but with the closing of Farm Fresh on Ocean View Avenue, the pantry is now serving about 50 additional families a week. 

Residents say there’s nowhere to get fresh food other than gas stations and a few options that are more of a hit to the wallet. 

“It makes me emotional because children should not have to deal with hunger, a mother should not have to worry about where she is going to get the food to feed her kids.”

A lot of the food is donated from the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore.

Ruth Jones Nichols is the CEO.

“The food bank has close to 250 partners in our network,” Jones Nichols said. 

These are partners that operate food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters. 

“The people who are showing up now were not showing up before,” said Jones Nichols. “With Farm Fresh closing, they are now experiencing the tipping point.”

In March, the Farm Fresh announced the sale of 21 stores to Food Lion, Kroger and Harris Teeter. 10 On Your Side reported the closures will affect roughly 2,600 jobs.

To donate to the food bank, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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