A central Virginia food pantry will be adding another day to its weekly food distribution to help more people in need.
Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry is expanding service in order to keep up with growing demand. Margaret McNett Burruss, the executive director at the pantry, says there have been a record number of clients coming to its doors.
Statistics show that the nonprofit had a 37 percent increase in the number of people served so far this year compared to this same time last year, so its adding Wednesdays to its food distribution service, starting Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The pantry, located at 370 Greenbrier Drive, already hands out food to clients on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.
Volunteers say more than 100 clients coming to the facility during a two-hour period is common. Burruss believes the increased demand is due to a higher need and their ability to serve fresh food.
"Since we got our walk-in freezer and refrigerator, we are able to provide a lot of fresh, very healthy food and we've had clients say they appreciate that because those are expensive calories and to be able to get fruits and vegetables and meats is a real plus for clients," Burruss said.
Burruss started full time in June. She says she hopes the pantry can be opened for more hours and more fresh food can be offered.
Volunteers make up a big part of the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry's operation, to find out how you can help, click here.
Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry Press Release
Charlottesville, VA, September 9, 2013 - Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, Inc. will add a fourth day to its food distribution schedule starting this coming Wednesday, September 11.
"This additional service to the Charlottesville community is driven by sizable jumps in the number of families coming to the pantry recently compared to a year ago," explained Margaret Burruss, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes.
Burruss noted that, in July 2013, Loaves and Fishes served 4811 individuals, its highest monthly number ever.
"That was a 35% increase over July, 2012 and our final tallies from August will also be up", said Burruss. Burruss commented that this increase in community need has been apparent for the entire first half of 2013. "We averaged 3955 clients served each month in the first half of 2013. That's up 37% compared to the first half of 2012."
Starting this week, the food pantry facility at 370-E Greenbrier Drive will be open to clients on Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m.. This adds a fourth day to the Loaves and Fishes' current schedule of Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Executive Director Burruss expressed gratitude that the generosity of donors, community business partners, and loyal volunteers has put the organization in a position take this step.
"We're an organization of ‘neighbors nourishing neighbors' and both volunteers and donors from all segments of the Charlottesville community have stepped up to make expansion of our service possible", she noted.
She added that the food pantry is always looking more volunteers to help out on any day.
"Volunteers do everything from greet clients and get them set up in the organization's system to packing groceries to retrieving carts and recycling cardboard. There's something for everyone to do and our volunteers make each shift fun and rewarding."
Those interested in volunteering for any Loaves & Fishes activity should contact the organization at email@example.com or by calling 434-996-7868.
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