Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Christmas in July Food Drive to Benefit Local Food Pantries

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Williamsburg is expanding (WYDaily/ Courtesy of James City County)
The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Williamsburg (WYDaily/ Courtesy of James City County)

WILLIAMSBURG — Celebrate Christmas in July with Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg’s Sleigh Hunger: Christmas in July Food Drive at the Habitat ReStore on July 20.

With increased gas prices and the continuing issue with supply chains, food pantries have been struggling to keep food available to those in need. For this reason, Habitat ReStore – Williamsburg is hosting a community drive-thru food drive to benefit the Grove Christian Outreach Center and Williamsburg House of Mercy.

“Hunger and the need for food know no season,” said Katie Patrick, Executive Director of Grove Christian Outreach Center. “In the past, food pantries would see some regular donors making regular trips with a bag or two of groceries that, collectively, had a tremendous impact. Fuel costs are keeping people closer to home and reducing the amount of ‘extra’ that people are able to do.”

Currently, Grove Christian Outreach Center has seen a decline of 32% in pounds of food donated. Need for food has only increased, however, the numbers even surpassing those seen at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Cash donations are also down $50,000 compared to this time last year.

“Preventing food insecurity relates directly to our mission of building homes, communities and hope,” said Janet V. Green, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg. “We are proud to work together with both nonprofits to address hunger, one of the chief barriers that keeps families from achieving self-reliance.”

In the last year, Grove Christian Outreach Center served 319 households (1,102 people) 3,821 times with its food pantry, 62 of the households being new. Williamsburg House of Mercy faces similar issues with stocking its food pantry. They provide essential services, including food security and housing to those in need.

Williamsburg House of Mercy has served 208 families in a single day one week this summer. More than 65 requests were made for housing during June alone.

“We have witnessed the impact of a compassionate community throughout the pandemic; there was no other way to meet such widespread requests for help,” said Shannon Woloszynowski, Executive Director of Williamsburg House of Mercy. “We know that the families of Williamsburg will continue to respond in generosity to help their neighbors in need.”

The food drive will be on July 20 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Habitat ReStore located in Williamsburg. A list of desired items can be found on the Habitat for Humanity website. For more about the Grove Christian Outreach Center and Williamsburg House of Mercy and how to help, information can be found on their websites.

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