Our mission is to feed Southwest Virginia’s hungry through a network of partners and engage our region in the fight to end hunger.
We have been helping the hungry for three decades
Since 1981, the Food Bank has provided millions of pounds of food and related product to hundreds of partner agencies that have served hundreds of thousands of individuals in need of emergency food assistance. Without the Food Bank’s distribution program there would be severe and detrimental effects on the disadvantaged families and individuals living in our communities.
Our partner agencies include non-profit food pantries, children's feeding programs, shelters, soup kitchens, rescue missions and elderly care facilities. These partner agencies rely on the Food Bank to provide them with large quantities of food to which they may not otherwise have access.
The Food Banking Challenge in our Region
Food banking is a daunting process of balancing donated food and sufficient funds to secure, transport, track, properly store and distribute food to agencies throughout Southwest Virginia. Last year, the Food Bank distributed over 17.5 million pounds of food and related product from its two distribution centers in Salem and Abingdon, as well as it's direct distribution program serving the Alleghany Highlands region. Based on audited calculations, this food had a value of over $24 million dollars.
But the challenges persist. The availability of donated food in our region and across the nation is shrinking. A volatile economy and more sophisticated production by manufacturers continue to reduce errors that previously brought more plentiful food donations. Both manufacturers and retailers are turning more and more to selling previously donated food to a secondary market rather than donating.
The Need for Food Banks
The Food Bank is an essential service to our communities. Yet it is often overlooked in today’s society. It is difficult for many of us to believe, accept, or admit that hungry people exist in today’s society …in our hometowns…and even in our neighborhoods. But hunger studies continue to document that need. The USDA estimates that 50-million Americans are food insecure.
Many circumstances contribute to an inadequate food supply. It may be short term because of the loss of a job or long term because of inadequate fixed incomes or terminal or acute illness. Whatever the reason, hunger does exist in our region and the mission of the Food Bank is to strive to meet that basic need. This region of Southwest Virginia has also been hard hit by plant closings, work force reductions, limited job opportunities and constraints to job re-training opportunities.
The nutritional needs of thousands of deprived families in Southwest Virginia rests with the Food Bank and its partner agencies.