Virginia Peninsula Foodbank: COVID-19 – Update 3/25

March 25, 2020
Thank you for your support during these challenging times. Below is an update on our response to the Coronavirus:

The Foodbank is open and does not expect to close. We are considered an essential, life sustaining business like the grocery stores. Our main priority is to continue our operations for as long as possible. Below is a summary of activity for our major programs as of today (subject to change):

Partner Agency Food Distribution – Continues at most locations. Since most of our partners are church food pantries operated by senior/elderly volunteers, many of them have chosen to close. Those that remain open we have advised to practice low contact distributions.

Individual Food Assistance at the Foodbank – we are referring callers to attend one of our mobile food pantry distributions.

Mobile Pantries – We continue to operate this much needed program using drive-throughs, with this week being a normal heavy schedule because it is late in the month. Today we served 300 households at An Achievable Dream Academy; our average normal household count there is 220. On Thursday, we will hold our VA Medical Center mobile pantry at the HU Convocation Center overflow parking lot. We are preparing to serve 450 households instead of 225. Most of our mobile pantries at low income senior living facilities were cancelled by the site managers over the past two weeks. We are expecting to announce mass drive-through food distributions starting the week of March 30 as more of our partner agencies close and as more workers are laid off or miss paychecks. Our first planned event is in Gloucester on Monday because one of our largest partner agencies in Gloucester had to close last week. We are working with various officials in the larger cities to plan these foo d distributions.

BackPack Program – We are continuing to provide BackPack bags of food for the weekend at sites where Hampton, Newport News, and Williamsburg/JCC are distributing lunches and certain other locations where children cannot get to the “Grab and Go” school lunches. We are also offering BackPack bags to some of our agencies who have asked. As of today, we are expecting to deliver over 1,300 of these bags, compared to 1,550 per week before the virus hit.

Kids Cafe afterschool meals – Not operating hot meal program but supplying bagged meals to C. Waldo Scott Center, Buckroe Point Apts., and others who request them. Currently only at 80 per day.

SHARE Program – Not operating during the month of April.

We are anxiously awaiting word from VDACS (Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services) that TEFAP/USDA commodities have been released for all (waiving the income requirement).

We have cancelled all our volunteers at the Foodbank to protect the health of the staff so we can keep operating. Staff will pack as many bags, food boxes, and produce bags as we can on our own in anticipation of the mass distributions.

We have purchased several truckloads of food and are waiting for them to be received since our donated food inventory has been low all year.

Thank you for your support as we all come together in time of need.