The Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) holiday is observed nationally as a day of service in celebration of the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. In honor of MLK Day, Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price hosts an annual 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 since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, January 17, Mayor Price will be joined by federal, state, and local leaders, including: 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.
“The COVID pandemic changed the face of hunger in our community, as many who had not needed support in the past found themselves struggling to feed their families,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price. “Individuals who are at the highest risk for serious illness associated with COVID-19, including seniors, those with chronic illnesses, and people of color, are often the ones who are most adversely affected by the economic and secondary impacts of the pandemic. Every donation, regardless of the size, makes a difference. Please join me and give the gift of nourishment and hope to our neighbors in need.”
According to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, over 1.7 million pounds of food were distributed in Newport News between July and December 2021, equating to more than 1.4 million meals! During this same time, 3,671 households in Newport News made 8,863 visits to the Foodbank’s partner agencies and program sites to receive food assistance. The food provided made an impact on 10,259 people. In Fiscal Year 2021, which ran from July 1 to June 30, 2021, the Foodbank distributed over 4.1 million pounds of food in Newport News, equating to over 3.4 million meals provided.
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.
“Thank you to Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, Sheriff Gabe Morgan, and other federal, state, and local leaders for making the MLK Day of Service Food Drive an annual tradition to help our neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity, and to also honor and celebrate Dr. King’s commitment to public service,” said Karen Joyner, Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. “Going into its sixth year, this food drive is a great way to kick off 2022 and help the thousands of individuals who are faced with hardships and obstacles they never expected. Unfortunately, food often takes the back burner. Events like this raise our neighbors up and give them hope for a healthier future.”
For those who wish to donate before January 17, food drop off boxes are at the following locations:
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 business, place of worship, or group would like to collect items in support of Mayor Price’s Day of Service Food Drive, please call 757-926-8403.
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