Giving Back to Area Communities During Times of Uncertainty

Local Food Bank Notices a Recent Increase in Food Assistance

Foodbank

Photo by The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

A volunteer fills a car with food from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. For COVID-19 precautions, mobile food pantries have been implemented to put prepackaged food into cars for less contact.

Laraya Billups, News Editor

Williamsburg, Va. – The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank experienced a significant increase in individuals seeking food assistance after businesses closed due to the global pandemic beginning in March 2020.

This organization serves “across 25 counties and eight cities” in the Blue Ridge area. The main headquarters of the organization is in Verona, VA, with distribution centers located in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Winchester.

Abena Foreman-Trice, media and communications manager for the organization, said once people began losing their source of income, the food bank became a source of support.

“In mid-March, the businesses in our area shut down,” Foreman-Trice said. “Many of the individuals seeking food assistance were coming for the first time.”

The increase in assistance is ongoing. According to the BRAFB website, before the pandemic, the food bank provided food to an average of 103,500 people per month. During the spring of 2020, the average number rose to 136,000 people per month.

The number of people served is “25 percent higher than before at this time of the year,” Foreman-Trice stated.

Due to volunteering and community partnerships, the BRAFB has served many families during the pandemic.

“We distributed more than 27.8 million pounds of food this school year,” said Foreman-Trice. “Ninety-seven percent of our partner pantries remained strong and operational.”

The BRAFB is seeking new volunteers to write articles and stories about the many families they support. They also seek photographers to capture people as they receive food.