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How We Achieved Record-Breaking Year in Fighting Hunger

How We Achieved A Record-Breaking Year in Fighting Hunger

The Foodbank and its partners delivered a never-before-seen 24 million+ pounds of food to communities in Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore in a single fiscal year.

Record-Breaking Year in Fighting Hunger

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is home to one of today’s most active hunger relief initiatives. Celebrating our record-breaking fiscal year as highlighted in our 2023 Annual Report, the Foodbank is a local nonprofit organization that empowers people to collectively strive for a cause they care most about — hunger and food insecurity. With our community, partners, and donors’ support, we collect, store, and distribute precious food to our neighbors across the region. 

Today and every day, our local community remains committed to reaching out and inspiring others, using our resources to help make a positive difference across Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. In 2023, thanks to its generous donors and volunteers, the Foodbank delivered more than 21 million pounds of food to communities statewide — a 6.1% distribution increase that broke all previous records. Just a few weeks ago, at the tail-end of the fiscal year, we broke the record again at 24 million pounds of food distributed since our organization’s 1981 founding.

The Foodbank is the only food bank in the area that has defied regional distribution decreases. This huge milestone means we are now the fourth-largest Virginia food bank, ensuring healthy, nutritious options are available to the most vulnerable communities.

“This past year, we – alongside our neighbors – endured the impact of rising inflation, expiration of critical pandemic-era programs, and increased fuel and shipping costs,” said the Foodbank President and CEO Christopher Tan. “These hardships intensified the demand for our services, placing even greater pressure on our organization to “do more” for those in need. It is during times like these that our commitment to alleviating hunger shines brighter than ever.”

Making Food Donations More Nutritious

Healthy food options have become a cornerstone of our mission, with over 70% of the food we distribute now comprising nutritious choices. We are devoted to promoting well-being, supporting our neighbors in accessing balanced meals, and guiding them toward self-sufficiency through quality food items.

The FoodBank’s overall distribution improved by 7.25% on the Foods to Encourage index, which measures true healthfulness. We led Virginia food banks by distributing the highest percentage of produce relative to total distribution, with an impressive 31.9% of our food being fresh produce. This dedication saw a remarkable 42% increase in our produce distribution within a single fiscal year.

Despite these accomplishments, the growing demand for our services challenges us to do even more. Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study shows a significant rise in food insecurity within our service area, impacting 10.5% of our neighbors.

Speeding Up Distribution

We are moving food much faster than we have done historically. In FY22, our organization faced a challenge with Virginia’s second-lowest inventory turn rate, standing at 5.6, notably 2.6 below the state average. In just one year, we boosted our turn rate by 155%, increasing to 14.3 and positioning us as the third highest among Virginia food banks.

Our ability to distribute this many nutritious food bank donation items at record speeds couldn’t be done without the support of our staff, volunteers, and donors—from sorting, packing, and distributing food to generous monetary and food bank donation drop-off contributions.

Our New Goals

Moving into the new fiscal year, we have refreshed our goals to work to exceed our ever-growing baseline quota each year so that no one in our community goes to bed hungry.

Food is the connection

Food is more than sustenance; it is a connection, uniting us at a communal table and serving as a reminder of our common humanity.

  • Goal: Mobilize the public to advocate for hunger relief programs serving vulnerable adults and children.
  • Goal: Diversify food, funding, and volunteer resources to scale and sustain hunger relief initiatives.

Food as medicine

Food is the first medicine for sustaining health. Recognizing health as the root cause of food insecurity, the Foodbank strategically targets it as the initial cornerstone, where our interventions can have the greatest impact.

  • Goal: Expand healthy food service options in underserved, low-income neighborhoods.
  • Goal: Increase access to healthy food in communities with high food insecurity and poverty rates.

Neighbors are hungry for more than food

The Foodbank is uniquely positioned to connect neighbors to other opportunities addressing the root causes of food insecurity. We believe that self-sufficiency is the only long-term solution to eliminate hunger permanently. Through these linkages, we uphold human dignity because true dignity comes from self-reliance.

  • Goal: Increase community awareness about the causes, consequences, and disparities associated with hunger and Food Insecurity in Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore.
  • Goal: Collaborate with traditional and non-traditional partners to promote food security and positive physical health outcomes.
  • Goal: Collaborate with higher education and workforce development partners to implement comprehensive solutions that help individuals access living-wage careers.
  • Goal: Nurture a workplace culture where employees are engaged and feel valued.

Let’s Make 2024 Our Biggest Year Yet!

Anyone can join us in the fight against hunger. Visit us online to find more ways to give this year,  whether it’s through a donation of food or funds, by volunteering, or more! Contact us for more information.

Categories : Press Room