Foodbank Opens New Western Tidewater Branch
$3 Million Investment in Franklin Facility Marks Major Commitment to Eliminate Food Insecurity and its Root Causes
Norfolk, VA – September 15, 2022 – The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is pleased to announce the opening today of its new Western Tidewater Branch located at 618 South Street in Franklin, Va.
The nearly 17,000-square-foot building houses a fully equipped warehouse featuring walk-in refrigerators and freezers and dry storage capacity that can accommodate up to 48 pallets (96,000 pounds) of dry, shelf-stable foods; that’s equivalent to the weight of 27.5 Mini-Cooper automobiles. Additionally, the new branch facility features a marketplace where neighbors experiencing food insecurity can “shop” for dairy, meat, and fresh produce in a farmer’s market-style shopping area, providing the dignity of a client-choice shopping experience. The building also houses numerous classroom and meeting spaces, plus a computer lab to support programs designed to address the root causes of food insecurity, namely employment, healthcare and nutrition, education, housing, and financial literacy.
“With food insecurity on the rise, this new investment could not come at a better time,” says Foodbank President & CEO Christopher Tan. “It’s all about doing more…providing more food and more services to more people. One thing I fervently believe is that food is connection. Helping to feed someone is one the most personal things you can do for another. Among other things, it establishes trust. We want to use that connection to help people onto the path of self-sufficiency.”
The Foodbank’s Western Tidewater Branch was established to provide enhanced services to the region and target families facing food insecurity in the rural communities of Franklin and Suffolk and the counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, and Sussex. The opening of this new branch marks a major milestone in the Foodbank’s ability to address food insecurity in the region, enabling the more than 30 partner agencies in Western Tidewater the ability to access a Foodbank warehouse — which supplies food supporting local church and community-based food pantries and soup kitchens — in under 50 minutes.
Economic impacts continue to take a disparate toll on low-income and rural communities and communities of color, where food insecurity rates are rising.
Like any major undertaking, this new branch would not be possible without the generous support of many community partners, such as the Obici Healthcare Foundation which has provided $600,000 in grants over the past three years, Hubbard Peanut Company, Hampton Roads Ventures, First Baptist Church, and the Camp, Landmark, and Truist Foundations. Additionally, the project received $2 million in support from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
To illustrate the level of need in the region, the attached press kit includes a range of fact sheets, as well as specific programs being offered at the new Western Tidewater Branch.
About the Foodbank
For more than 40 years, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has provided over 350 million meals to those in our community who face hunger. Through our programs, facilities, and large network of community partners, we “eliminate hunger” on a daily basis for many. However, we understand that our current work addresses hunger for individuals in the short term. It does not address the root causes which force individuals to return to a food pantry again and again. This understanding has led to the creation of a strategic plan aimed to move Hampton Roads closer to achieving the mission of eliminating hunger for those we serve—not only for the day, or for the week, but for a lifetime. For up-to-date information on the Foodbank, visit www.foodbankonline.org, Facebook, or Twitter.