Busch Gardens donates 4,800 pounds of food to local nonprofit

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The Grove Christian Outreach Center received a surprise donation of thousands of pounds of food from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Katie Patrick)
The Grove Christian Outreach Center received a surprise donation of thousands of pounds of food from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. (WYDaily/ Courtesy Katie Patrick)

As local food donation services struggle during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has stepped up to donate thousands of pounds of food to the community.

The park’s Care Team donated 4,800 pounds of food to Grove Christian Outreach Center Thursday, according to Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s twitter account.

The Grove Christian Outreach Center serves a low-income community comprised of hundreds of families. Katie Patrick, executive director, said the organization has struggled recently to provide for the growing demand of hungry people.

But just as the food demands have started to grow, Busch Gardens has helped fill the need by donating fresh produce, milk and snacks.

“We’re proud to answer the call to ensure food is provided to those in need during this time,” the tweet read.

Patrick said Busch Gardens had been a partner with the organization for years and typically at the end of each season would reach out to Grove and donate any left over produce.

The new donation was totally a surprise but one that couldn’t have come at a better time.

On Tuesday, Grove Christian Outreach Center and the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank told WYDaily both organizations were struggling to meet the growing need of food donations.

Busch Gardens' Care Team donated food to the Grove Christian Outreach Center on Thursday. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
Busch Gardens’ Care Team donated food to the Grove Christian Outreach Center on Thursday. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

“We’re just so lucky,” Patrick said. “This abundance of milk and fresh produce is really adding to our ability to provide some of the most nutritious food to families.”

She said the organization will likely distribute most of the produce within the next few days to make sure families can use the products while they’re still fresh. Other produce, such as potatoes, will be distributed over the next few weeks because they can last longer without going bad.

Patrick added that she wasn’t sure how long this amount of food will last the organization because some specialty items, such as sodas, don’t get turned into meals.

But as the organization continues to move forward in distributing food to a community in growing need, Patrick said donations such as this help to keep them going.

“We’re very grateful to Busch Gardens and their commitment to ensuring our community is well taken care of,” she said.

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