Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price hosts an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service Food Drive to provide essential supports to residents on the Peninsula. This year’s event is even more critical, as the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has served a record number of people in desperate need of food due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Price, as well as federal, state and local leaders, are asking residents to give the gift of nourishment and hope during this troubling time.
On Monday, January 18, Mayor Price will host his annual Food Drive with support from Congressman Bobby Scott, Delegate Marcia Price, Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan, and Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew. The community is invited to drop off donations at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, which is located at 2401 Aluminum Avenue in Hampton, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. This year’s event is a drive-thru collection and guests are asked to remain in their vehicles and wear masks.
“As communities across the country face record surges in new COVID-19 cases and work to safeguard residents, we must also address the pandemic’s secondary repercussions, including the staggering rate of people struggling with food insecurity,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price. “The pandemic has threatened the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. The face of hunger has changed and many who have not needed support in the past have found themselves struggling to feed themselves and their families. Hunger relief is a collaborative effort, and we must join together to uplift our neighbors in need.”
According to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, over 50% of people who received support between April and September 2020 were first-time food assistance recipients. Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2020, the Foodbank’s mobile and community pantry sites in Newport News distributed nearly 1 million pounds of food (over 833,000 meals). This is a record for the nonprofit and a 62% increase over the prior fiscal year. As a result of COVID-19, the Foodbank projects that an average of 31,300 Newport News residents (17.3%), including 10,350 children under the age of 18, are currently confronting food insecurity each day.
While the community need for food has grown, the Foodbank has struggled with a decline in donations. At this time, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is experiencing an 18% decrease in food donations.
“We are tremendously grateful to Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, Sheriff Gabe Morgan, and other federal, state, and local leaders for creating the MLK Day of Service Food Drive,” said Karen Joyner, Virginia Peninsula Foodbank’s Chief Executive Officer. “This annual event, now in its fifth year, brings our compassionate and caring community together to honor Dr. King’s commitment to public service while also providing nourishment to our neighbors in need. This food drive places much-needed items on our shelves to support those facing food insecurity during the winter months. We always appreciate everyone who participates so we can provide more meals to those confronting hunger.”
For those who wish to donate before January 18, food drop off boxes are at Newport News City Hall and the city offices in Fountain Plaza Two in City Center. Mayor Price has also partnered with Riverside Health System and the Virginia Unity Project to hold food collections prior to the MLK Day of Service. If your church or group is interested in hosting a collection event in support of Mayor Price’s Day of Service Food Drive, please call 757-926-8403.
Individuals who are at the highest risk for serious illness associated with COVID-19, including seniors, people with chronic illness, and people of color, are often those who are most adversely affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic. Mayor Price’s MLK Day of Service event addresses hunger while supporting our most vulnerable residents. For more information on the Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Food Drive visit www.nnva.gov.