NORFOLK -- With school a wrap and summer just about to get into its full swing, many are thinking about time at the beach, vacations, and cookouts.
People at Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore are hoping at least some will squeeze in a thought or two about people who won't be getting away, people who can't afford a single meal, let alone hosting a barbecue.
"A lot of our young people that, actually, get the free and reduced breakfast and lunch because they're in school, well, guess what. They are really looking for food," explained Joanne Batson, Chief Executive Officer of the food bank. "In the last 2 or 3 years, we've had people knock on our door and come up and, actually, say, 'I'm so sorry I'm here. I lost my job. I used to donate to the food bank, and, now, I find myself in a position of needing your help, and we hear that story way too many times."
Putting a number on it, Batson told 13News the organization serving 1 in 4 people in its coverage area.
This week, the sorting room in which volunteers check to make sure collected items are safe and still able to be distributed (according to their dates) sat virtually empty.
Food drives are especially critical during this time of year. The Governor's Bowl is one that is taking place statewide. It's a collaborative effort between the Governor's Office, The Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and The Federation of Virginia Food Banks. Locally, Downtown 100, part of the Downtown Norfolk Council, is running the Downtown Has a Heart Food Drive until June 29.
"We provide bags of groceries to approximately 400 to 500 families each month," said Marcia Murdock who coordinates the food pantry at Episcopal Church of the Advent in Ocean View.
Murdock stopped by the food bank to grab items to restock the church's pantry.
"There was this one lady that came in. She said she was out trying to get some food assistance and was not very successful with that, and somebody referred her to our church, and she, practically, was in tears when we handed her the bags of groceries because she had two kids that she had to feed, and she did not have any food," shared Murdock.
"We all know that prices have gone up, and you come home at the end of the day, and to sit down to a meal with your family, and realize you don't have enough money to pay in the grocery store to feed your family, it's just heartbreaking," Batson said.
Drop-off locations in Downtown Norfolk for Downtown Has a Heart Food Drive:
BBT, 500 East Main Street
Bank of America, 1 Commercial Place
Dominion Tower, 999 Waterside Drive
Main Street Tower, 300 East Main Street
PNC Bank, 555 East Main Street
150 West Main Building, 150 West Main Street
Town Point Center, 150 Boush Street
World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street
WVEC-TV, 613 Woodis Avenue
Wells Fargo, 440 Monticello Avenue
Dominion Enterprises, 150 Granby Street