On Thursday, Oct. 1, Feeding America Southwest Virginia, the regional food bank located on Electric Road in Salem, received 30,664 pounds of donated food from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Each year, the church donates to food banks across the country as a part of their “Day to Serve” project. Last year, it was estimated that 50,000 volunteers were involved in the project, and they logged a combined 180,000 service hours.
Walker Nelms, the marketing and communications coordinator of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, said the organization typically receives a large donation from the church every three years.
“This was a big deal for us. They sent really a great variety of stuff. They sent beef stew, chili, great northern beans, corn and green beans. It was just a great mix of food,” said Nelms. “A lot of it was really important, because they are things that people can put together and make a great meal out of.”
The truckload also included pallets peanut butter, soup, juice and other goods, which were shipped all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah over a three-day trip. The donation was estimated to equal $28,000, and will provide over 25,000 meals.
“The donation is particularly timely,” said Pamela Irvine, President and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia. “We are nearing crisis-shortages of food to help feed the region’s food insecure who are unable to adequately feed their families. Far too many of our neighbors, including children, are still having to go to bed hungry.”
Nelms said on average, Feeding America Southwest Virginia feeds 127,000 people a year. Last year, the organization provided close to 23 billion pounds of food to those in need in the region, which equals out to nearly two billion pounds a month.
Feeding America operates on donated foods and salvage items from 120 Kroger stores throughout the region, as well as grants from the Feeding America network. Typically, the only thing they have to purchase on a regular basis is fresh produce, since it is perishable.
“We’re trying to get better, more nutritious foods to the clients,” Nelms said. “We have a veggie mobile that we take out to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables.”
To learn more about Feeding America Southwest Virginia, visit https://www.faswva.org/.