Addressing Food Need in Virginia: Where to Find Virginia Food Banks: A Gathering of Resources from Semein Washington

Below you can find a short overview of food banks in the state of Virginia. With our most fundamental needs consistently monetized and the efforts of city councils across the nation to make homelessness illegal, this information is invaluable. We hope to aid, bit by bit, civic efforts toward improving our state’s share of empathy and improved quality of life.

Food Banks listed represent four corners of the state, each with their own unique food needs and access.

Further resources can be found at Feeding America (http://www.feedingamerica.org/) and The Virginia Federation of Foodbanks (http://vafoodbanks.org/ ).

Virginia Peninsula Foodbank (http://hrfoodbank.org/): “Established in 1986, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has been the leading hunger relief organization across the Greater Peninsula serving the 1 in 7 Virginians who struggle with hunger in the Cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg, and the Counties of Gloucester, James City, Mathews, Surry and York. In order to sustain the ever-growing need, the Foodbank partners with almost 160 member agencies made up of faith based organizations, food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community centers across our service area for people to turn to in times of need, and together, we have provided over 147 million meals.”

Contact Information: Address - 2401 Aluminum Avenue, Hampton, VA 23661; Phone Number - 757-596-7188; email - info@HRFoodbank.org

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Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore (http://foodbankonline.org/ ):Since 1981, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, a member of Feeding America™ and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, has been providing food for hungry people throughout Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore. In our mission to lead the effort to eliminate hunger in our community, the Foodbank has distributed over 331 million pounds of food equating to over 276 million meals throughout our 4,745 square mile service area, which includes the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin and Virginia Beach as well as the counties of Southampton, Northampton, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Accomack. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Foodbank distributed over 18 million pounds of food equating to 15 million meals to the community.”

Contact Information: Main Office and Warehouse: 800 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk, Virginia 23504; T: 757-627-6599 | 877-HUNGERX (877-486-4379); F: 757-627-8588; Eastern Shore Branch, 24530 Coastal Boulevard, Tasley, VA 23441; Mailing Address - P.O. Box 518, Onley, VA 23418; T: 757-787-2557; F: 757-787-7850

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FeedMore (https://feedmore.org/about-us/who-we-are/ ): “FeedMore is Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization dedicated to providing neighbors in need with healthy meals and hope for a better tomorrow. With a service area that stretches across 34 cities and counties, FeedMore helps the nearly 200,000 children, families and seniors in Central Virginia who struggle with hunger. Working to efficiently and effectively fight hunger, FeedMore’s multi-tiered approach, comprehensive programs and network of more than 300 partner agencies are dedicated to providing neighbors who face hunger with one of the most basic necessities: nourishment.”

Contact Information: 1415 Rhoadmiller Street Richmond, VA 23220; Primary Phone: (804) 521.2500; Fax: (804) 521.2501; General Inquiries: info@FeedMore.org; Event Inquiries: events@FeedMore.org; Media Inquiries: media@FeedMore.org

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Blue Ridge Area Foodbank (https://www.brafb.org/): “At the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank we are driven by our core beliefs that hunger is unacceptable; that everyone deserves access to enough food; that food sustains life and nourishes health; and that we are called to serve neighbors in need without judgement.


We were founded in 1981 in Staunton, VA by a 5-member board, including the man who would become the first Executive Director, Phil Grasty. By the end of the first year, the Food Bank distributed 233,000 pounds of food to the hungry through 202 member agencies in 18 counties along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At that point in time, our work was considered a “major experiment in food banking” because of the rural nature of our service area.

As the need for emergency food assistance grew in other areas of the Blue Ridge region, the Food Bank expanded and relocated to a new facility in Verona, VA, now the headquarters of the organization. Three other branches were established in Charlottesville, Winchester and Lynchburg between 1982 and 1985.”

Contact Information:

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank: 96 Laurel Hill Road, PO Box 937, Verona, VA 24482
Phone: 540-248-3663; Fax: 540-248-6410

Thomas Jefferson Area Branch: 1207 Harris Street Charlottesville, VA 22903-5319
Phone: 434-296-3663; Fax: 434-296-9621

Lynchburg Area Branch: 501 12th Street, Suite B, Lynchburg, VA 24504-2527
Phone: 434-845-4099; Fax: 434-845-6153

Lord Fairfax Area Branch: 1802 Roberts Street Winchester, VA 22604-2342
Phone: 540-665-0770; Fax: 540-722-4217

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Feeding America Southwestern Virginia (https://www.faswva.org/ ): Feeding America Southwest Virginia was founded in 1981 and proudly commemorates 36 years of fighting hunger and changing lives through community partnerships.

The Food Bank is an affiliate member of Feeding America and for the last three decades the Food Bank’s ultimate mission has remained the same: eliminate hunger in the region.

The primary function of the Food Bank is to secure large quantities of food for the hungry. Over $28 million worth of food and grocery related products are channeled through a network of 353 partner feeding programs in our 26-county, 9 city region that provide food or meals to those in need.

Contact Information:

Salem Distribution Center / Administrative Offices: 1025 Electric Road • Salem, VA 24153
Phone: (540) 342-3011

Abingdon Distribution Center: 21452 Gravel Lake Road • Abingdon, VA 24211, Phone: (276) 628-9266 • Fax: (276) 628-3947, Mailing Address: PO Box 2579 • Abingdon, VA 24211

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Colonial Heights Food Pantry (http://www.chfoodpantry.org/ ): “Colonial Heights Food Pantry, Inc. is committed to alleviating hunger and developing collaborative strategies to encourage self-reliance and preserve human dignity.

In FY2016: Colonial Heights Food Pantry provided 20,964 services to individuals in need. 2,787 Services to Seniors; 8,425 Services to Children; 9,752 Service to Adults; 8,799 USDA client services. Volunteers from the community served over 15,000 hours.”

Contact Information: Call us: 804-520-7117; Fax us: 804-520-7115; Find us: 530 Southpark Blvd, Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Please share this information widely, with those who might want to donate or volunteer, and especially with those who might be struggling with food access.

In a state and a country as wealthy as advanced as ours, no one should go hungry.

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Social Justice Wizard: On Gaming & Accountability from Stephen Ownby

Hobbies are important. We need escape from the stress of what can seem from tweets and headlines to be a spiraling out of control society.

This is to say nothing of the pressures of work, school, friends, and family. Some people watch or play sports. Some read and many of us mainline TV shows from various streaming services. Me? I sit and yell about dragons and elves. I love tabletop card games and my main obsession is Magic: The Gathering. Most weekends I can be found slinging spells in hobby shops and in kitchens over drinks.

If my mentioning the 25-year-old trading card game summons images of entitled man-babies casting cards between misogynistic slurs that’s… not entirely unfair.

Magic, like much of nerd culture, is having to come to terms with its “boys' club” reputation.

While less high-profile than the recent kerfuffle over Star Wars daring to have strong female characters, and then the toxic mess that was “Gamergate,” Magic has had its fair share of scandals.

To their credit, Wizards of the Coast (the game’s publisher) has stepped up their social justice game. The YouTube content creator who was responsible for driving a cosplayer from the game was banned from organized play for life. Wizards have added LGBT and neurodiverse characters in several recent sets. While obviously still evolving and imperfect, it is nice to see this effort on a corporate level.

It’s too easy for me, a white cis straight man, to sit back and ignore the ongoing toxicity in the Magic community at a local level. “Society is progressing,” I might say, “it is only a matter of time before these issues are erased.” After all, I deserve to enjoy my hobby, right?

But the diverse gamers with whom I share tabletops deserve to enjoy it as well, and to enjoy it now.

Contrary to stereotypes, I play with kids and adults of multiple genders, races, orientations, and gender identities. The kids on the spectrum I play with deserve to play without hearing casual ableist slurs. The LGBTQ players deserve to play without hearing that an overpowered card is “gay.” The women that I play with, who are already asked too often which players’ girlfriends they are, as if that is the only reason they have taken an interest in the game, don’t deserve to have to sit next to cards sleeved with pictures of half-naked anime girls.

This where I have to be better.

I have to remind myself that, even it’s uncomfortable, I have to tell the kid at the next table that his racist joke isn’t cool. No matter how bad my work week has been, I have to call out casual utterances of “f*ggot” and “r*tard” when I hear them.

The game does not just belong to me, and as an enfranchised player, I have a voice to make the community better for everybody involved.

I have to do this even if it means having awkward conversations with store owners and tournament organizers. I cannot be perfect, but I have to be better. Now, especially now, hobbies are important for everybody.

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Stephen Ownby is a member of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace. He graduated from Longwood University in 2010 with a BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. He writes, hopefully with increasing frequency, poetry and nonfiction about politics and culture. Stephen lives in Henrico County with his wife Carey and their two spoiled cats.

 

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Who We Are & Why We Care: WFP Member Profile: Stuart Nicholson

Welcome! I am Stuart Nicholson, an actor and fiction writer in Richmond, as well as a member of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing For Peace.

Growing up in the woods of rural Virginia to a family of farmers, I have always had a strong respect for the land. Whether I was running around on an adventure in the trees or helping my uncle and grandfather plow or harvest the fields, nature was a constant in my early life. As I grew up and began seeing other issues in life, their effects intrigued, and sometimes worried, me. I remember being fascinated by experiences that I would never have and wanting to understand their impact.

I went to school to study acting because I wanted to be able to tell other people’s stories. I wanted to show hardship and struggle in people other than myself. Writing had always been an extension of that. It allows the versatility to tell my stories, as well as others’.

I wanted to be involved with Writing For Peace because I believe writing and the arts have a stronger pull than traditional advocacy. The arts are able to personalize issues in a way that pamphlet and signature activism can’t. Through Writing For Peace, we can show the effect all of these socio-political issues have on the people around us. Despite any differences, we are all members of this Community.

 

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EVENT: Pop-Up Drop-In Day for Homeless Youth in Richmond Hosted by Advocates for Richmond Youth, Richmond, VA, Dec 16, 2017

Saturday, December 16th 2017, from 1-7pm, at the Trinity Family Life Center (3601 Dill Road, Richmond VA), Advocates for Richmond Youth will be holding a pop-up drop-in center for youth ages 14-24 who are experiencing housing instability, homelessness, or just need resources to get on their feet. Free food, clothing, hygiene items, and resources. Workshops will be offered every hour from 2pm, and include topics like housing rights, make-up, self-care, and succeeding at job interviews.

Advocates for Richmond Youth are a team of young adult researchers who have been homeless themselves, and are conducting a survey on homeless youth in Richmond. See their Facebook page for more info.

To get to the venue by bus, take the #34 from the transfer plaza.

 

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Welcome to the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace! How We Got Here....

So happy you're here with us at the start of this new venture.

I've had the privilege of working with the national organization Writing for Peace for the last four years, an organization dedicated to employing the skills, talents, and energy of writers toward the goals of promoting empathy and peaceful activism. The dream of one woman, the amazing Carmel Mawle, Writing for Peace was founded in Colorado, with its initial goal of particularly reaching out to young writers, through an annual Young Writers' Contest. This dedication to both writing, my own field, and to young people, impressed me so much, and so I was thrilled when asked by Carmel to join the team of advisers associated with Writing for Peace. Writing for Peace continues to grow, under the direction of our new President, Andrea Slack Doray, and with an excellent board, committed to the mission Carmel first set out years ago.

I introduced the organization to my own students, young poets, essayists, and fiction writers, in the classes I teach at Longwood University, and they loved it, loved how the goals aligned with their own desire and passion for activism and social justice, loved that it embodied what they saw as the vital role of artists in creating real change in the world.

But Colorado's a long way from the rolling rural farmland of central Virginia, so one day I sent a message, a question, in a thread online, to a list of my most civically active current students and alums, asking, “How do we bring Writing for Peace here to Virginia? What would a regional chapter of WFP look like to you?”

The thread exploded, with the energy and enthusiasm and wisdom young people can bring, and the idea of WFP Regional Chapters began grow, including community activists in our area, as we developed the proposal, sought board approval, and began the steps to making this chapter of Writing for Peace a reality here in Central Virginia.

This past Sunday, using the magic of online video conferencing, we gathered, a small group of like-minded collaborators, for the first meeting of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace.

Writers of all backgrounds and ages, supporters of the arts, community activists, anyone who wants to join us, we, as a chapter, want to do what we can, use the skills we have, to make our own communities and region better, stronger, more peaceful places for all who live here, through projects we develop as a chapter, and through the support we can as a group extend to other activists and organizations already doing good work on the ground where we are.

Beyond our desire to better our own communities, we hope that this inaugural chapter will inspire others to do the same, to come together to create Writing for Peace chapters in communities across the country, even across our beautiful planet.

We'll be posting here regularly, writing, projects, events, articles of interest, all with the hope of promoting discussions and activism toward peace. We hope you'll join us, as we work together toward a more peaceful, empathetic, loving, and just world--for everyone.

 

Mary Carroll-Hackett

Member, Central Virginia Chapter

MidAtlantic Regional Liaison

Writing for Peace

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