The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore Present Pillars of Promise Awards
Norfolk, VA—September 23, 2021 — Last year, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore (FSEVA) distributed more than 19 million pounds of food and 15 million meals to help feed neighbors experiencing food insecurity. That could not happen without the tireless support of thousands of volunteers and supportive businesses and organizations.
During this year’s fourth annual Hunger Summit, being held on Wednesday, September 22, the Foodbank will honor some of those volunteers and supporters who have gone above and beyond in service to our most vulnerable neighbors. Each of the following recipients of the Pillars of Promise Awards have demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication in support of the four pillars of the Foodbank’s Strategic Plan, representing how the organization is fulfilling its mission to lead the effort to end hunger in our community: Lead, Feed, Strengthen, and Transform.
- Candy Hayes – A twice a week volunteer, Candy maintains a constant presence on social media, educating her followers on food insecurity, participating in Hunger Heroes or actively attending Women Ending Hunger activities.
- Team Rubicon – A nonprofit organization that pairs veterans with first responders to serve in times of disasters and humanitarian crises, Team Rubicon stepped in when it was decided it was safer to have the same group of volunteers rather than varying groups each shift working at the Foodbank during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, it is one of the most effective volunteer groups in recent memory, packing 19,031 boxes or bags and bagging 9,341 pounds of produce.
- Jon Frankel – An active-duty Chief in the U.S. Navy, Jon brings a level of energy and efficiency to his Foodbank service that is a marvel to behold. Beyond his nearly 300 hours of service, he is constantly recruiting fellow sailors to serve alongside him.
- Wesley Community Center – A beacon of hope in Portsmouth for at-risk and vulnerable individuals, Wesley Community Center provides nutritious food, clothing, mental health screenings and referrals, tutoring, senior services, and more. The Community Center partnered with the Foodbank to launch a Food Hub offering food plus holistic wraparound services to address the root causes of hunger in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Betty Darden (Donor) – A staunch supporter and incredible ally, she is always willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate hunger in the community. No obstacle is too big for her. Betty is a long-time supporter of the Foodbank, who is committed to ensuring that no child, family or individual goes to bed hungry.
- Manna Café – Originally established to provide free lunches on the Eastern Shore, this group of dedicated volunteers quickly pivoted when the pandemic hit, becoming a D-TEFAP (Disaster – The Emergency Food Assistance Program) agency, serving more than 200 households weekly. In addition to providing food, volunteers also provide information for additional resources and continuously check on seniors to ensure they have what they need, especially those facing transportation barriers.
- Katelyn Steide – Just 17 years old, she has logged more than 50 hours contacting neighbors, helping them take advantage of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). She has demonstrated a level of maturity and empathy working with applicants that is far beyond her years. For every meal that the Foodbank provides, SNAP provides nine, so her work is demonstrably moving the needle on closing the meal gap in our community.
- Bridgette Berthold and Green Run High School – One of FSEVA’s strongest and longest TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) partners, Bridgette and the Healthy School Market at Green Run High School have worked diligently to help vulnerable students and their families, providing 100 households fresh produce and shelf stable items monthly during the pandemic. Green Run High School students co-designed programming that included trauma informed nutrition education and three successful Zoom live cooking demos with local “celebrity” chefs. Parents commented that not only was the food that was provided for them to prepare a huge help, but these events also enabled them to spend quality time with their teenagers, as they shared in the joy of learning new recipes, as a family.
THE FOUR PILLARS
Each one of these pillars is aligned with FSEVA’s strategic plan to eliminate food insecurity:
Lead: Increase community awareness about the causes, consequences and disparities associated with hunger and food insecurity in Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore. Mobilize the public to advocate for hunger-relief programs serving vulnerable adults and children
Feed: Expand healthy food service options in underserved, low-income neighborhoods. Increase access to healthy food in communities with a high prevalence of food insecurity and poverty rates.
Strengthen: Diversify food, funding and volunteer resources to scale and sustain hunger-relief initiatives. Nurture a workplace culture where employees are engaged and feel valued.
Transform: Collaborate with traditional and non-traditional partners to promote food security and positive physical health outcomes. Collaborate with higher education and workforce development partners to implement comprehensive solutions that help individuals access living wage careers.
About the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore
For 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 3-year 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.