The Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, in Norfolk, is and has been a strong pillar in our community for over 40 years. As a Partner Agency with the Foodbank since 1997, the Church has pushed the effort to eliminate hunger within our community through the Food Rescue Program. This program collects prepared and perishable food from grocery stores, restaurants, caterers and discount retailers to distribute immediately to the hungry and food insecure.
Through the Food Rescue Program, Farm Fresh partnered with the Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church. In 2018, when Farm Fresh announced they would be closing their doors, it ended their partnerships with the Church and 29 other Partner Agencies. The closures meant a total of 1.5 million pounds of food would no longer be donated to the 29 Partner Agencies.
Farm Fresh was a substantial partner to the Church, and its closing caused a great imbalance in the food intake for the church. The Church found themselves in a difficult position, as they were no longer able to provide the community with as many fresh fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy diet.
“We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know what would happen. We wondered if we still would be able to meet the clients’ needs,” said Arthur Jarrett, Program Director and Deacon at the Church.
Members of the Church knew that they would have to step up and take initiative. Using their own funds and resources, they purchased the produce items that clients were receiving before the closure.
Upon hearing about the closing of Farm Fresh, Leonna
Benson, the Food Rescue Coordinator here at the Foodbank,
reached out to the Church. Food Lion, our largest retail food
donor, expanded their partnership with the Foodbank and
our Partner Agencies, including Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, to try to fill the gap from the closure of Farm Fresh. The Church was pleased to have a new partnership with Food Lion to help meet the community’s needs.
In collaboration with Food Lion and roughly 30 volunteers, the Church conducts weekly distributions every Wednesday from 12:30–1:30 p.m. Going the extra mile for their clients, the Church also delivers food to those who are shut-in or home-bound. On average, Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church serves between 75-100 people per week and nearly 300 households per month. Each household receives about 50 pounds of fresh produce, frozen meats, deli, and dairy items.
“The most important thing is the client, that is why we are here, they come first,” said Jarrett.
Dear Friend of the Foodbank,
We hope you had a relaxing and memorable summer. It seems like now, more than ever, time is moving by so quickly. Just a few months ago, while many supporters were planning their summer vacations, we were kicking off the summer with our End Summer Hunger campaign and launching 14 summer feeding sites serving nutritious meals to over 1,000 children.
During the school year, there are over 93,000 children in our service area that are eligible for free and reduced price meals. In the summer; however, many families are not able to provide these meals at home for their children. That’s why our community partner — Harris Teeter — joined us in the efforts to end summer hunger this year by matching your End Summer Hunger campaign donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $25,000. This allowed us to provide over 100,000 meals for hungry children and more than 3,000,000 meals during summer for food insecure adults and families throughout our community. Together, we helped children focus on having a fun and active summer and alleviated the stress for individuals concerned about where they would get their next meal.
As fall begins and summer ends, our team here at the Foodbank will continue our efforts to eliminate hunger and address the root causes of food insecurity. We invite you to join our efforts this September, during Hunger Action Month, when people all over America will stand together with Feeding America and the nationwide network of food banks to fight hunger. Will you help us spread the word and take action on the hunger crisis – locally and nationally?
Last year, the eyes of the community were on our Foodbank when Farm Fresh closed its doors. Farm Fresh was a tremendous community partner, and losing their support was initially devastating. We had faith in the community, and our faith was rewarded this past year as the community stepped up by providing food and financial support to sustain critical programs, lending a voice as advocates for the hungry and food insecure, and donating time as volunteers. Thank you for standing with us, even during the government shut down, to help our most vulnerable neighbors.
With your continued support in the year ahead, we will provide hunger-relief assistance to over 160,000 food insecure individuals in our service area. Please consider demonstrating your support today by making a commitment during Hunger Action Month that will help us eliminate hunger in our service area.
Together, we can solve hunger.
Ruth Jones Nichols, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Kevin X. Jones.
Chair, Board of Directors
51st Priority Charity Bowl
September 14, 2019
The Charity Bowl originated in 1968 to raise money for local charities. The game was originally played by former high school and college football players at Thanksgiving. Today, the event is the Priority Toyota Charity Football Game, a flag football game featuring celebrities, elected officials, and football legends. The Foodbank is honored to be a beneficiary charity of the event again this year. Watch the local news during the first two weeks of September for coverage of the Foodbank, as well as the other beneficiary charities, doing great work in our community.
Elected Officials Engagement Day September 20, 2019
Our vision for a hunger-free community has compelled us to balance our efforts in “feeding the line”, while giving specific attention to strategies designed to “end the line.” Therefore, we are focusing on advocacy and education in a nonpartisan fashion. We will be hosting legislators, corporate partners, and community members to promote the bipartisan issue of food insecurity.
Addressing the Root Causes of Hunger: A Community Leader & Stakeholder Convention
September 26, 2019
This community leader conversation at the Slover Library is designed to share the results of the Root Causes Study, as well as provide national and local perspectives on next steps in addressing hunger and food insecurity.
23rd Mayflower Marathon
November 22–24, 2019
The Mayflower Marathon is a 57-hour consecutive food and fund drive that takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. The goal of this event is to put food on the tables of those struggling with hunger in our community.
Please donate at our sites at First Team Kia Subaru in Suffolk and Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach, or online at foodbankonline.org
Virginia Beach Christmas Market November 29–December 1, 2019
Virginia Beach Convention Center
1000 19th St., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Donations of shelf-stable food items and funds will be accepted to support the Foodbank. More details to come. Check foodbankonline.org for details.