Mobile Food Pantry Delivers Food To Families In Need - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Mobile Food Pantry Delivers Food To Families In Need

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ATLANTIC, Va. - Four hours before volunteers even started putting out food, almost 100 cars sat in the parking lot at St. John's United Methodist Church, waiting.

It's one of the drop-offs for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore's mobile pantry.

Not only is food insecurity high in rural Virginia, for communities like Atlantic, food pantries can be dozens of miles away.
   

"It defeats the purpose to have to drive 20, 30 miles, or pay somebody to take you to a partner agency to get the food products you need," says Charmin Horton, Eastern Shore Branch Manager.

The food bank says 14.6 percent of Accomack County residents don't know where their next meal is coming from, and that number could be rising.  Four years ago, only about 30 households came out to the Atlantic stop.  Now, it's 180 on average.

Horton says "you're looking at families who are trying to make ends meet with two incomes.  You're looking at hours that have been cut."

This Wednesday, Horton with the Food Bank says the weather kept many regulars away.  Still, 170 families, 370 people, drove through the line for food.

The tough economy has taken a toll on food banks trying to keep their shelves stocked, but for the mobile pantry, transportation throws in another financial wrench.

"You know the cost of fuel goes up every few weeks so, therefore, that makes the cost of this program increase," says Horton.

Tampa Miller has been volunteering since the beginning, "all of these people are like my family,"
 she says, but when she doesn't see them...it's often a good thing, saying "I know they've picked up work."

Something that makes the mobile food pantry different from many others, there are no income or household size requirements.

The next stop in Accomack County is next Wednesday in Saxis, Virginia.  For the full schedule, visit the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore online.

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