HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, no matter your race, age or gender. For years, one woman in Hanover county has been doing her part to feed the men and women facing homelessness.
She does it with a smile and asks for nothing in return. Now, the volunteers around her are putting a spotlight on her selfless ways, in this week’s Acts of Kindness.
Bread, peanut butter and apples are just some of the items sitting on the shelves at the “Moments of Hope Food Pantry.”
Becky Rogers is a volunteer at the pantry and she said, "when I first started here, I was surprised that in Hanover County we had so many people that were in need of food.”
The pantry opened in January and since then, at least 20 families a day, who were once uncertain about where their next meal would come from, could breathe a sigh of relief.
“The working poor, the homeless, anybody that is in need, who needs a leg up to get them through the week, the month or whatever it is,” Betty Hayes said.
The pantry is headed by Hayes, a woman who has been serving the community for quite some time.
For more than year, Hayes, her partner Bob Hummer, and other volunteers would feed hundreds people in RVA each and every Saturday. This is all on top of having a full time job.
"Above my kitchen sink, there’s a sign that says, ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ Every morning when I get up, that’s what I look at. I tell my grandchildren be the change. Nothing changes without one person doing one thing,” Hayes said.
It’s not all talk, she backs it up with actions.
"At one point the bread pick-up was at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. Which meant I worked all day on Friday, I went and picked up groceries, I took a shower got about 2 hours of sleep, loaded bread into my car and then I got back up at 7 (a.m.) to come to the pantry to work until 12 (p.m.) and work at the Saturday serving until 4 p.m.,” Hayes said.
It’s why the volunteers like Becky Rogers reached out to NBC12 to help them say thank you.
"We see the things Betty does here, and we’ve seen the stuff that she’s done in Richmond and it’s just amazing. She is just faithful and just wants to help others,” Rogers said.
For Hayes, the hope is that one day the people being served at the pantry will eventually be able to sustain without needing the pantry. Which is something she knows firsthand.
“I’ve been homeless. I’ve slept in an abandoned building. I’ve been without food. I thank God my children didn’t have to go through it but I did,” Hayes said.
Even when things get hard and the shelves seem a little bare, she still manages to find a way.
“Physically my body should not allow me to do the things I do, but I do them anyway because you have to do them. God gives you all the strength you need to do whatever you need doing. God gives you every strength you need, and there was a time I wouldn’t have believed that he would give me this much but he does, every day,” Hayes said.
If you would like to volunteer or make donations, call (804)-913-9118 or (804)-913-9151
Hayes said her pantry is in need blankets, gloves and hats to give away for Christmas. They also need protein - things like tuna, chicken and chili.