In recent years, officials at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore have noticed a trend.
Levels of food insecurity — or the inability to reliably access enough food — have risen generally across Hampton Roads and nationwide, but rural communities are among those hardest hit.
In Sussex County and Franklin, west of Suffolk, for example, the percentages of the population struggling with food insecurity jumped by nearly 25% from 2018 to October amid the pandemic, according to data from the nonprofit food bank.
To combat the problem, the Foodbank is opening a new Western Tidewater Branch that will serve those localities, as well as Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.
“This has been something we’ve worked on for some time and it is amazing to see it come to fruition,” said Foodbank president and CEO Ruth Jones Nichols.
The branch will temporarily operate out of the Healthy Food Pantry at Franklin’s Hayden Village Center, but Jones Nichols said the organization recently closed on a 16,000-square-foot building nearby that will serve as a permanent location. Read the full article here.