Valley businesses donate 39,000 meals for hungry neighbors

food bankThe Blue Ridge Area Food Bank recently recognized the local business community for bringing nourishment to families in need and hunger awareness to the Shenandoah Valley.

The holiday donation program, Valley Businesses Give Back, raised enough food and money to provide neighbors in need with 39,000 meals. The Hershey Company and the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce together led the food and fund drive that drew participation from 39 businesses.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, along with Hershey and the Chamber of Commerce, recognized businesses and organizations that participated in Valley Businesses Give Back at a reception Wednesday. The food bank awarded Hershey with the Champion’s Trophy for collecting 1,180 pounds of food and raising $4,501.

Valley Businesses Give Back grew out of a food drive that Hershey started at its Stuarts Draft manufacturing facility in 2011. Hershey expanded it into a friendly competition between businesses and last year invited the Chamber of Commerce to help lead the cause.

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 more than 24 million pounds of food annually to 114,000 people each month through a network of 224 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, visit

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