Foodbank Basics

Foodbank Basics

In 1981, a small group of individuals from the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project (STOP, Inc.) of Hampton Roads recognized the issue of hunger in their community and came together to address it. With $50,000 in grant funding from the USDA, they started the initial infrastructure. What began as a Community Food and Nutrition Program was established as a non-profit organization and one of Virginia’s first food banks just a year later.

The original purpose of this organization was to serve as a regional clearinghouse in collecting and distributing unmarketable but edible food to appropriate non-profit organizations for their food programs. With 73 member agencies, they distributed 400,000 meals in their first year.

Since then, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has proudly provided more than 380 million nutritious meals to our neighbors in need. Through our programs, facilities, and large network of community partners, we work to eliminate hunger daily. Our understanding of the need for a long-term solution aims at moving 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.

1981 foodbank
early foodbank

Here’s How We Do It

Since 1981, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has proudly provided more than 380 million meals to our neighbors in need. We play a vital role in the fight against hunger by collecting, storing, and distributing food to our neighbors, while also working to address the root causes of hunger and food insecurity.


Donations of food, funds, time, and voice come from individuals, corporations, foundations, retailers, government, and other organizations.

Foodbank Warehouse

Our staff and 6,000 volunteers collect and organize donations and prepare items for distribution.

Partner Agencies

Hundreds of community organizations – food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, etc. – collaborate with the Foodbank to help distribute food to individuals and families in need.

Programs & Innovation

We also distribute food directly to our community though Mobile Pantries, 757 Mobile Markets, Food Hubs, etc. where partners aren’t available or where providing it is most efficient.

Neighbors In Need

Food is provided to neighbors struggling with hunger throughout our 4,745 square-mile service area.