Thousands expected to benefit from the Feeding America of SWVA Mobile Meals vehicle

Pamela Irvine, FASWVA CEO (right), describes the importance of the new Mobile Meals to Feed the Hungry vehicle alongside Alan Ronk (center), President and CEO of the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia and Michelle Eberly (left), Director of Grants and Donor Engagement for the Foundation.
Photo by Amanda Allen

Roughly one in six children, according to Feeding America of Southwest Virginia (FASWVA) Marketing Director Amanda Allen, are currently struggling with hunger on a regular basis.

Between May and August of last year, FASWVA served approximately 19,000 meals to children as part of its summer reading program.

On Tuesday, December 18, Feeding America of Southwest Virginia unveiled its new Mobile Meals vehicle at its Community Solutions Center in Roanoke. Courtesy of the Community Foundation, the vehicle will help deliver approximately 500 meals that the center produces every day.

“I got involved with Feeding America three years ago because I was seeking a new opportunity for myself. Something that has always been important to me is contributing in whatever way that I can,” Allen said. “Last summer, we were doing about 500 meals a day, Monday through Friday. During the summer, we were transporting so many meals that we had to rent vehicles to be more efficient and productive.”

The funds for the vehicle were donated by the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia.

“We asked the foundation if it would have been acceptable for us to redirect the remainder of the funds into purchasing a walk-in freezer because we were running out of storage space with all of the food purchases,” Allen said. “They agreed, and we are so thankful for that.”

Said Nicole Sanchez, a beneficiary of Feeding America of Southwest Virginia since 2015: “People are hungry and they are right in front of us. We have to do something about it.”

At this time three years ago, Sanchez and her family had just moved to Roanoke County. Carter, a mother to three boys, says that her upbringing was not unique. “Growing up in Arkansas, I didn’t have any organization like Feeding America of Southwest Virginia around. I often went to bed hungry. The Mobile Meals vehicle will provide a great resource to so many families,” she said.

Amanda Allen is hopeful that more volunteers will get involved with Feeding America of Southwest Virginia.

“There are many ways that the community can get involved and make a difference. I break it down into three categories: food, fun and time. We need food throughout the year, so I often recommend to people that a food drive is always a great idea,” Allen said. “People also have really gotten creative. We’ve had kids decide that have asked people to donate instead of receiving gifts on their birthdays. Any effort is greatly appreciated.”

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