Food Bank busy before Thanksgiving

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thanksgiving is a holiday of food and celebration with loved ones, but it's a sad reality that not everyone can afford to put enough food on the table.

Tuesday it got some help from the community. Wal-Mart cut the Food Bank a check for $200,000 to the seven main food banks in Virginia. But volunteers say hunger isn't something they see just around the holidays.

Volunteers were frantically trying to fill boxes of food to send off to those in need this week. The Food Bank has seen demand nearly double as Thanksgiving approaches. Jim Sheppard has volunteered with Meals on Wheels several days a week for four years now.

"This is definitely a busy place to work," he said.

Volunteers say it's busy because there are lots of people in need. Fay Lohr says many are in the giving spirit around Thanksgiving.

"This time of year, hunger is in the front of the mind," she said. "Thankfully they're thinking about other people and making for a happy Thanksgiving."

First Lady Maureen McDonnell was on hand for the announcement. She says hunger doesn't just disappear after the holidays.

"A lot of times people will automatically reach out at this time," she said. "But then in slower parts of the year, people are hurting a lot more."

So far the Food Bank says it's seeing more people in need of help.

"I've been doing this business for many, many, many years," Lohr said. "I have never in my lifetime seen need as great as it is."

For people like Jim, he says volunteering around thanksgiving is just as important as the rest of the year.

"The holidays are significant," he said. "But every day is significant to the clients that receive the meals."

Diamond Springs Bottled Water also donated $1000 at today's event.

The Food Bank gave out over 120,000 pounds of food Monday. The Food Bank says it's demand for food generally stays high for several years after the economy improves.

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