September is Hunger Action Month, a month to elevate the fact that more than 658,000 Virginians experience food insecurity and over 182,000 of those Virginians are children, according to Feeding America. The White House has resurrected the national Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health after more than 50 years to bring the public and private sectors together on September 28th with the goal of ending hunger by 2030. Hunger is a complex problem but each of us can take action to contribute to the solution and hopefully end hunger long before 2030 because no child or adult should go hungry.
Over the past year, our Hunger Resource Center (HRC) has seen an increase in people needing help accessing food when compared to this time last year. Months of rising food prices have taken a toll on many of our neighbors. In addition to new families, we are seeing previous clients return to the HRC because rising prices has made the cost of food unaffordable.
So far, the HRC has been able to keep up with the need. However, the increased costs of everything affect every aspect of running the 8,000-square-foot warehouse where we collect, store, and distribute the food to individuals and families experiencing hunger in our community. We have refrigerators and freezers which run up the electric bill but enable us to provide fresh produce, meat, and dairy in addition to canned goods and pantry items. We have trucks that our volunteer food recovery drivers use to collect donations from local grocery stores and restaurants. These trucks require gas, tires, and regular maintenance. And then of course there’s the less obvious but necessary expenses ranging from building maintenance to cleaning supplies.
Our work in the Greater Prince William community is supported by a variety of volunteers, donors, organizations, and businesses in an array of ways because everyone can be part of the solution to hunger. We welcome you to learn more about hunger and food insecurity and take action:
- Donate: Donations are vital. Donations, of any size or for any duration, from one-time to lifetime, all come together to ensure families in our community have food for their tables. We accept a wide array of donations, from refrigerated food, fruits, and vegetables (don’t let your garden abundance go to waste!) to canned goods and pantry items. We list the most urgent food needs every month in the NVFS Insider E-Newsletter. The cash donations we receive help us to cover the various costs of running the center while our sustainer and legacy donors help build the foundation of our budget.
- Volunteer: Our volunteers are the backbone of our work at the HRC and across NVFS. Even a single HRC warehouse shift makes an impact. Right now, we need volunteer Food Recovery Drivers. Although this position requires a six-month commitment but the impact our drivers make from recovering food is massive. We also provide a variety of opportunities for companies and community organizations to get involved with everything from canned food drives to hosting events or sharing their company’s expertise. Our volunteer engagement specialists work one on one to tailor these experiences.
- Raise Awareness: Subscribe to the NVFS Insider newsletter to receive monthly updates on what’s going on at NVFS. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep a pulse on NVFS and be there when we send out our most urgent and timely requests. And, most importantly, spread the word about NVFS and the HRC with your friends, family, and co-workers to get others involved in working to end hunger in our community.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the HRC is that it is a major intake point to access the array of NVFS’ services. Our neighbors who come to us in need of food are able to consider their holistic needs and make the connections they need to start their journey towards self-sufficiency. Access to quality, healthy food is one of the most basic needs. But we work to help our neighbors not just survive, but thrive! Learn more about the Hunger Resource Center and how you can support our neighbors during Hunger Action Month and beyond.