ALBEMARLE COUNTY, V.A. (WVIR) - As many families prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, some aren’t able to put much food on the table. That’s why one of central Virginia’s largest food pantries is stepping in to keep people fed over the holiday.
In the past week alone, Loaves and Fishes have provided over 500 households in central Virginia with enough food to last throughout the holiday.
"This is food that would otherwise go the landfill and I'd much rather have it go into people's bellies than have it thrown away," said Executive Director Jane Colony Mills. "We also see large families where parents are sacrificing their meal for the children, so what we're trying to do is fill in the gaps."
Mills says a majority of their clients need to spend most of their money elsewhere.
"Poverty is far too high in our area and what we've found is that people are either living with disabilities or they're putting all of their income into housing to try to keep a roof over their heads and food falls by the wayside," Mills said.
Volunteers like Susan Thomas say the food pantry is working to break the stereotypes about the people it serves.
"When you say ‘food pantry’ the idea is that you really need to be poor and it's a stigma, so what we're trying to do is say ‘this is your free grocery store,’" Thomas said.
The pantry has all the Thanksgiving staples from turkeys to potatoes. This year, people even got to take home fresh flowers to make their Thanksgiving tables complete.
'It’s rewarding and I'm grateful that I'm able to do this and especially for Thanksgiving because people are just really delighted to get the food," Thomas said.
Loaves and Fishes will be closed for the holiday and plans on reopening next week as they start to restock their shelves for the rest of the holiday season.