Newport News Now

March 25, 2020

Foodbank Requests Community Support

During times of emergency, foodbanks play an important role in meeting community needs. New federal legislation will provide more financial resources to community foodbanks, but that does not help with the all-important process of packing and delivering food to our neighbors in need. With students out of school and many people off work and facing limited resources, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is extremely busy. They’ve increased their mobile food pantry sites to make it easier for people to safely access food. Now they need more volunteers! 

To keep volunteers and employees safe, the Foodbank is practicing social distancing and they ask everyone to carefully monitor their own health and hygiene habits. As of now, the Foodbank is encouraging volunteering because it is essential to getting people the food they need.

To volunteer, visit and register through the Volunteer Hub portal. You can also contact their Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Ponce at or 757-596-7188 to learn more about special participation requirements and enhanced safety protocols implemented during this time of high-risk virus transmission.
If you are unable to volunteer, you can still ensure the Foodbank meets critical community needs by helping with:

  • Food donations: Due to the increased demand for food in grocery stores, the FoodBank’s Food Rescue Program has experienced a significant decrease in food pick-ups and store donations. This makes food drives and food donations even more essential. Through YouGiveGoods and online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, etc. you can host a virtual food drive or ship items directly to their doors. Please contact Tracy Hansbrough at if you have any questions.  
  • Monetary donations: The Foodbank is purchasing truckloads of food items to nourish individuals, families, children, seniors and veterans and fill in the gaps in service created by the temporary suspension of traditional food distribution avenues. Every dollar you contribute provides four meals to vulnerable community members. You can make a secure donation on the Foodbank’s website.

Please join the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank in supporting our neighbors who might otherwise go hungry. Together we will provide not only food, but also hope during this challenging time.  

Newport News Employees Going the Extra Mile

While the city has been closed to the public since March 15, city staff have worked hard to ensure residents continue to receive the services they depend upon. The following is a compliment we received from a citizen.
“I just wanted to offer a word of thanks and recognition to the city’s staff for a tremendous response time in light of the city essentially being shut down during the coronavirus. I discovered after returning home from two days away that the sewer had overflowed, so I contacted 311. It was less than 30 minutes later and city worker Ralph was already putting his snake back in his truck. He was very courteous and respectful, and his efficient response and completion were appreciated beyond measure. Thanks to the City of Newport News 311 team, and the after hours response team from sanitation, we are flowing again.”

The employee mentioned above is Ralph Redmund-Smull who is part of the city’s Public Works Department. Ralph began working with the city in 2007 as a Senior Pipelayer for the Wastewater Division. Since then, he has been promoted twice and is currently the Crew Supervisor for the night shift, which means that he and his team handle all wastewater issues that arise after hours. They respond to businesses and homes for stoppages, handle Miss Utility markings and check on cave-ins. 

Thank you, Ralph, for taking such pride in your work and for the kindness you show each person. We are glad you are part of the city’s team!   

Now we want you to join us! While COVID-19 has caused many uncertainties, the thing that will always remain the same in Newport News is our commitment to serving residents, businesses and guests. We are looking for eager and qualified applicants to fill various positions. For a list of open positions and to apply, visit our Career Porta l.