"It's good when people come together and help each other."
Those are the words of Salvation Army food pantry recipient Norman. He recently came to the food pantry wearing a hat stating, "Relax, God is in control"... a statement befitting his peaceful and kind demeanor.
In 2001, when a ten year battle with cancer had left Norman so sick that he could no longer work as a contractor, it felt strange at first for him to turn to others for help.
"It took me a long time to get used to... I grew up on my grandparent's farm and we always helped feed the elderly and the poor with our harvest, I was a giver not a taker."
As Norman began to learn the stories of those around him also in need, he found himself becoming an advocate for the underprivileged,
"I try to be a voice for those in need."
Norman comes to the food pantry once a week to get nutritious food to supplement his diet. The values instilled in him by his Cherokee grandparents, along with his faith in God, guide Norman in his daily life.
"You never know what's going to happen in life, needing help is not something to be ashamed of."
Most of us have never known real hunger; the anguish of wondering where your next meal will come from, the desperate feeling of weakness that stems from a true lack of food.
Sadly, those feelings are common for many of our neighbors here in Central Virginia.
The statistics on hunger are telling - 12.4% percent of people in Virginia are considered "food insecure" - that means nearly 1 million Virginians don't know where their next meal will come from.
This number includes more than 218,000 children and teens who will never reach their full potential without the nutrition they need to thrive.
YOU are the solution.
Because of your giving spirit, last year we served 227,013 meals and distributed 6,775 bags of food to the people that needed it the most right here in Central Virginia. Those people included:
- Seniors and the disabled living on fixed incomes; men and women struggling with unemployment; families who just can't make ends meet and the mentally ill living on the streets;
- Victims of disaster and the relief crews that come to their aid;
- Children who participate in our afterschool programs, live in our shelter, or whose parents visit the food pantry for groceries.
If you would like to contribute, you can do so online here, or by calling (804) 591-3816.