Thousands in need get free food

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One in three children in the Richmond area are considered impoverished, but two organizations are making sure these kids don't go to bed hungry.

The Salvation Army handed out boxes of food and other items to families struggling to get by. With rising food prices, many say the supplies were much-needed.

Hundreds of boxes of food and other essentials sat in the parking lot of the old Armstrong High School in Church Hill Wednesday, ready to go to a family in need.

Annie McDuffy was one of many people to stop by the drive through. She says she'll take whatever help she can get.

"With the food prices the way it is now," she said. "I guess every bit helps."

Each box came with twenty-five pounds of food and another box full of toiletries. Feed the Children out of Oklahoma City provided the food.

The Salvation Army identified 1600 local families to receive the care packages. Major Wayne McHargue of the Salvation Army says the economic recovery hasn't helped everyone just yet.

"People do struggle," he said. "People without jobs are struggling even more so."

About one out of every three children in Richmond lives in poverty. To put it into perspective, there are enough impoverished children in Virginia to fill the Coliseum eight times.

"It helps a lot because there's five of us," McDuffy said. "We're doing pretty good without it but this will help a whole lot."

The boxes hold enough food to feed a family for a week. Carolyn Toomer is another person that stopped by for a box.

"I've never had free food before," Toomer said.

She takes care of her elderly mother and says even a one-week break from paying a grocery bill goes a long way.

"As long as my rent is paid and there's food on the table, this is just some extra food," she said. "I am grateful. That's all I can say."

This is the first time the Salvation Army has teamed up with Feed the Children to give away boxes of food. The Salvation Army hopes this can become an annual tradition.

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