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Central Virginia Food Pantry Holds Open House

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Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Canopy area at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Canopy area at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Jane Colony Mills Jane Colony Mills
Jim Hart Jim Hart
Kim Varin Kim Varin
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

One of central Virginia's largest food pantries is giving people a look behind the scenes of what it takes to feed close to 5,000 people each month.

Volunteers at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry (LFFP) say they serve around 70 families each day, but many people still don't know who they are and what they do.

The food pantry hosted an open house Saturday, June 16, in hopes of changing that.

"We don't realize how lucky you are until you're somewhere like here and you see how much people need," said Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Executive Director Jane Colony Mills.

LFFP dishes out more than 2 million pounds of free food to people in need each month.

"We've had people come from as far away as Culpeper. So really, anybody who's in need who comes in here and says they need food, we'll try to help them out," Colony Mills said.

Colony Mills led tours of the facility during the open house Saturday to show people what the food pantry does on a daily basis.

“People typically are overwhelmed by what we do. There is a great deal of food in this warehouse and they're really surprised to learn how many people need our help," said the executive director.

"This is such an important exemplification of faith and hope in the community," said Jim Hart, skill building specialist at Region Ten.

Loaves & Fishes is a little different than most food pantries in central Virginia: people get the chance to choose the food they want to take home.

"The difficulty with giving people food that they don't want is they won't eat it, and it goes to waste. So we try to make sure that they're getting what they need," Colony Mills said.

Folks also got the chance to see the new outdoor canopy, which was paid for thanks to community donations, will protect food from bad weather.

"Without this roof, it was just exposed to whatever weather we were going through. So this is giving us a way to protect our assets," Colony Mills explained.

The open house also provided volunteers from other food pantries the chance to get together and learn from one another.

"I think it would behoove of us at our food pantry to maybe try and add some evening hours if it was possible to do so," said Kim Varin, volunteer at Church of Our Savior Food Pantry.

Volunteers at Loaves & Fishes say they hope people left the event knowing how valuable food really is.

Click here if you're interested in volunteering at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, or want to donate.