Food drives, giveaways abound

Published 7:43 pm Monday, November 15, 2010

As the weather turns colder and the calendar flips closer to the holiday season, many folks are thinking about the expansive feasts they will spread out on their tables this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

During all these festivities, hunger might be the furthest thing from most of our minds. However, to some of our neighbors, it’s all they can think about.

According to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, about one in four people in South Hampton Roads goes hungry at least occasionally because they cannot afford anything to eat. The pain of hunger is magnified when it’s cold outside and the holidays, which typically include big family meals, are approaching.

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However, a few organizations and businesses are helping out this year.

LeOtis Williams, owner of LW’s Lawn Service, will hand out turkeys and trimmings for the seventh straight year this coming Saturday. He started the first year by handing out 175 turkeys. This year, his goal is 1,500.

Last year, the giveaway expanded to include not only turkeys, but also sweet potatoes, cabbage, collards and other fixings for Thanksgiving. He even set up health screenings in his Pinner Street warehouse and grilled hot dogs for people waiting in line.

Williams networks through churches and other organizations to determine who in the community is in need of food. Vouchers are distributed in advance to ensure only those who need food receive it.

Local organization Impact Suffolk also will be handing out food Saturday at the Howard Mast tennis courts behind Farm Fresh, 1401 N. Main St. They’re looking for volunteers, particularly young people, to help beginning at 8 a.m.

Impact Suffolk is a cooperative of several dozen churches and volunteers who put on events, including the food giveaway, to bless the community.

In addition to the Thanksgiving giveaways, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and its partner agencies are continuing to serve the community as they do all year long. The food bank partners with churches, homeless shelters, veterans’ groups, the Salvation Army and more to distribute food in neighborhoods where it’s most needed.

The food bank can use donations of food and money all year long. Its “10 Most Wanted” list includes peanut butter, chunky soups, canned meats, canned tuna, canned vegetables, juice, cereal, boxed macaroni and cheese, pasta and pasta sauces. But any non-perishable food item will do. To find out more information about donating to them or sponsoring a food drive, visit