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On National Food Bank Day, Feeding Southwest Virginia focuses on creative solutions

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Friday, September 3 is National Food Bank Day, and in southwest Virginia, the people working to fight food insecurity say the pandemic has challenged them to do things differently to meet the need.

WDBJ7 spoke with Feeding Southwest Virginia CEO Pamela Irvine, who said the organization feeds nearly 100,000 people a month in a 26-county area.

The pandemic challenges came over on top of chronic hunger that was already present, which she said stems in part from the disappearance of industrial jobs in the region.

But the pandemic has forced them to make creative solutions they hope will last longer than the pandemic.

“Even though we’re still looking at responding to a surge in COVID,” she explained, “we are strategically planning for the future of our organization, knowing that we’re doing to directly serve more people than we ever have before.”

Irvine said they’re also focusing on mobile markets that deliver fresh food to communities while offering SNAP benefits, as well as cultivating culturally important foods for the people they serve.

This is in addition to workforce development opportunities, including those at the Community Solutions Center in Roanoke City.

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