Heat or Eat? Food Bank offers online tool to find emergency food assistance
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the area’s largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia, is concerned that thousands of families relying on emergency food assistance are choosing between heat and hunger this winter season.
In the Food Bank’s most recent comprehensive hunger study, Hunger in America, 50 percent of those who receive food assistance through the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank reported that they choose between paying for food and paying for utilities and heating fuel.
“The extreme cold this winter will drive up heating costs for many of our clients,” said Michael McKee, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “For those with household budgets already strained by high gas prices, food costs and medical bills, this is yet another blow to their ability to put nourishing food on the table. We expect that the number of people seeking food assistance will remain high and even increase during this time.”
The Food Bank works with 234 partner agencies — food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, community coalitions, schools, and other nonprofits — to provide more than 18 million meals to families in need annually. Right now, more than 118,900 people each month are receiving emergency food assistance through the Food Bank and its partners, 37,000 of whom live in the Central Shenandoah Valley.
Those who need emergency food assistance this winter can find help through a Food Assistance Locator on the Food Bank’s website, brafb.org. Click on “Get Help” and select the “Food Assistance Locator.” Visitors simply plug in their zip code, and the food pantries nearest their location will populate on a map, along with hours and contact information for each agency. During major weather events, visitors should call the agency they plan to visit to find out when they will be open.
About the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Founded in 1981, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia. Headquartered in Verona, VA, the Food Bank serves 25 counties and nine cities through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester and Verona. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank distributes 21 million pounds of food annually to more than 118,900 people each month through a network of 234 community partners – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools, churches and other non-profit groups. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, a national food bank association that supports more than 200 food banks across the united states. For more information, visitwww.brafb.org.
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