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Virginia food banks seeing increased demand: 'Our phone calls have picked up expeditiously'

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Posted at 12:17 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 10:30:52-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Summer jobs are typical for teenagers, but this summer several teens are doing chores to help people impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic by contributing most of their earnings to the Chesterfield Food Bank.

"It's just nice to be able to give back," said Chesterfield teen Nicholas Pomeroy.

"The kids who do the jobs, they'll get 20% of the payment and the other 80% is going to the food bank," added 17-year-old Brandon Cox.

Cox helped start "Chores for Change," a grassroots effort to help food banks where need from the community is growing by the day.

"Pre Covid it was about 150,000 (people served) and we believe today, we're probably having to serve about 300,000," said Feed More President and CEO Douglas Pick.

Feed More currently assists 272 foodbanks and charity organizations across Virginia.

While the working poor has historically needed assistance from Feed More, Pick said the organization is seeing another group emerge in need of help.

"That's the newly unemployed," Pick said. "They made it through the summer fairly well where we only had an increase of about 30%, however with the government assistance falling off the cliff just recently, our phone calls have picked up expeditiously."

Elizabeth Adams, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at VCU Massey Cancer Center, said the study was conducted to show the state of food insecurities during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"Food insecurity largely stems from a lack of resources, namely money," Adams said. These high unemployment rates and furloughs and decreases in income that families are experiencing, are a big factor in why we see nationwide much more food insecurity than we did before Covid."

Researchers fear long term impacts, especially to children's mental and physical health.

Douglas Pick said Feed More has dedicated more resources to providing healthy food, but that monetary donations and volunteers are crucial to keeping the community fed.

"There's a ton of neighbors helping neighbors," Pick said. "It just warms your heart every day to see what people do through Feed More and with Feed More to help those in need."

If you'd like more information on receiving assistance or giving assistance to the food bank, contact Feed More's website at www.feedmore.org.