Food for the table
By ADRIENNE WALLACE, Editor
Oct 31, 2017, 08:42
Nel Cook says she is grateful for the chicken and the services provided by Prince George Outreach Churches Ministry. Perdue staff and Food Bank volunteers pass out boxes of chicken in the background.
Every client of the Prince George Food Bank and Clothes Closet enjoys the benefit from the generosity of others who help provide items that are distributed there, but more than 125 families will have even more for which to be thankful.
Last week, Perdue Distribution Center generously donated large boxes of chicken, initially saying they would provide one for 125 families, but they under estimated their own spirit of giving by unloading plenty more to serve the line of beneficiaries who gathered at the Outreach Ministries also known as the food bank on a recent Wednesday morning.
Clad in red T-shirts with a Prince George Food Bank logo on the back, distribution center staff unloaded boxes of the poultry, and along with food bank volunteers, handed them out to those in need.
“This is such a blessing,” said Nel Cook who benefited from the donation. “When businesses like Perdue make such donations it makes everyone feel blessed.”
While Cook isn’t at the food bank on a regular basis, she has picked up items to help put food on the table at various times.
“These are tough times for a lot of people,” Cook commented. “I’m thankful for the Food Bank and the generosity of the community. It really helps a lot of people.”
Volunteers with the Prince George County Food Pantry, located at the old Moore School where the Prince George Central Wellness Center is no longer housed, joined staff from Perdue as they gave out frozen chicken distributed to those waiting outside at the food pantry.
More poultry was also stored inside the Food Bank and given during the regular distribution hours. That food was stored in a new industrial freezer and refrigerators that Perdue also provided.
Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Andrea Barnes was so thrilled about the donations made available through the Perdue Foundation that arrived a week before the many boxes of chicken.
“I just wanted to cry with excitement when this freezer and refrigerators were brought in,” she said while organizing distribution for Food Bank beneficiaries along with the numerous other volunteers. “It will provide us more capacity to accept frozen items and items that need to be refrigerated.”
And that’s in time for the holidays when some donors bring in frozen turkey and turkey breasts.
Those who benefit from the pantry’s generosity already have a good start before Thanksgiving arrives with a full box of chicken.
“As part of its commitment to fight hunger in its communities, Perdue Farms funded freezer and refrigeration equipment for FeedMore, Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization, helped stock it with a truckload of no-antibiotics-ever chicken and provided additional funding to purchase fresh produce,” Perdue spokesman Bill See noted. “The donations support FeedMore’s Healthy Meals for Healthy Communities Initiative, benefiting families in need in throughout the area.”
Through the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, a $10,000 grant enabled FeedMore to purchase the equipment for Prince George Churches Outreach pantry, a FeedMore partner agency located in Prince George, near Perdue’s Mid-Atlantic Replenishment Center (MARC). part of the funds will also support FeedMore’s produce purchase budget and help provide healthier food to families facing hunger.
“This is in our back yard – really in our back yard,” See said while at the distribution event. The Food Bank, on Prince George Drive, is close to The center is just off Rt. 460 and Bull Hill Road on
Perdue is one of FeedMore’s partner agencies.
FeedMore is Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization dedicated to providing neighbors in need with healthy meals and hope for a better tomorrow. With a service area that stretches across 34 cities and counties, FeedMore serves 200,000 children, families and seniors in Central Virginia who struggle with hunger, while setting goals to provide even healthier foods including fresh produce.
In all, FeedMore has 320 member agencies that include local food banks, pantries, food kitchens and churches.
“We partner with businesses like Perdue to help provide food for the food-insecure here in this area,” Tim McDermott, Chief Development Officer with FeedMore said. “They provide up to about two million pounds of donated chicken every single year.”
It’s much needed, McDermott said reporting that there are more than 17,700 individuals are considered living in food-insecure households in the Prince George, Hopewell and Petersburg area.
And he also noted that most of those who receive assistance aren’t dependant on the Food Bank here or in other areas year round. In fact, McDermott says about 70 percent of those clients on average receive items about seven months out of the year.
‘The program is designed to be an emergency food source, and that’s what it is,” he said. McDermott also explained that those in need for one reason or another are appreciative and often return to the food banks kitchens to make donations.
The Prince George Churches Outreach serves about 600 per month individuals and distributes more than 300,000 pounds of food annually. That includes military families, Barnes explained.
Perdue and FeedMore have been partners in the fight against hunger for 18 years and together have helped the more than 200,000 seniors, families and children in Central Virginia who struggle with hunger.
“We are extremely grateful to have Perdue Farms standing beside us in the fight against hunger,” said Doug Pick, CEO for FeedMore. “Perdue Farms’ extraordinary, continuous support of our mission through the millions of pounds of donated, sustainable, nutritious protein provides healthy sustenance to our neighbors in need.”
“We’re honored to support FeedMore in their mission to fight hunger through consistent donations of chicken and our associate volunteers,” said Dan Stein, director of operations at the MARC.
He noted that nationwide since 2000, Perdue has donated more than 76 million pounds of protein through Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks of which FeedMore is a valued partner. “That’s more than two tractor-trailer loads a week,” he said.
County leaders also expressed their gratitude that businesses here are partnering with community outreach programs to serve the residents in the area they operate.
“Perdue is a great corporate community business and has always been,” Prince George Board of Supervisors Chairman William Robertson, Jr. said. “They donated commercial freezers and refrigerators that were brand new - not used. Perdue continues to bring food to the Food Bank. Every year, they have had company leaders discuss how they want to work with the community. We have good community partnerships with our businesses, and the civic organizations contribute a lot, too.”
Goya Foods and Food Lion Distribution Center also make significant donations throughout the year. “Those are three businesses that can give food items to help in the fight against hunger, and we appreciate it.
“The best way I can explain it is ‘They are neighborly,’” Robertson added. “The majority of companies, from big to small, do things throughout the community to help in many ways, and that keeps government from having to do it all.”
With their donations, and FeedMore’s mission along with the selfless dedication of the Outreach Churches Ministry volunteers, local families will not have to go hungry.
After all, those at the Food Bank noted, We are all in this fight together.