According to a recent study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, almost 500 people were experiencing homelessness in the Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico area on any given night in 2019.
Feeding America’s 2018 “Map the Meal Gap” study found – in Richmond alone – 35,400 people were considered food insecure. That’s a whopping 15.8% of the city’s population.
And, keep in mind, all of these statistics were gathered before a global pandemic flipped the world on its head.
It goes without saying that now, more than ever, folks in need could use even more helping hands. This help can come without ribbons and can come without tags. Most organizations simply need time, food or funds: Even a dollar can help.
Below, learn more about a few standout, food-focused nonprofits and how you can volunteer to help those in need as we close out 2020, because no one should be hungry during the holidays.
Focusing on community awareness, education and outreach, Feed the Streets RVA works to bring food to those who need it most. The nonprofit accepts online donations – $10 will feed one person for one day, $200 will feed one family for one week – and needs volunteer help for its big push during the holidays. Upcoming volunteer opportunities include the Dec. 13 Community Feed and the Dec. 20 Angel Tree pickup events.
Join prolific local food justice activist and advocate Duron Chavis every Thursday from noon-3 p.m. through Dec. 17 as he and volunteers work to build resiliency gardens. Volunteers do not need special skills or green thumbs — you’ll help with mulching, planting cover crops and composting. The gardens you help build grow food that then nourishes those in communities who have long been disconnected from fresh, healthy produce. Online donations are also accepted if you cannot donate your time.
A member of Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America, Feed More has been fighting hunger in Central Virginia for decades. The expansive nonprofit services in 34 counties and cities. You can help Feed More, well, feed more, by donating funds online, holding your own canned food drive, joining its hunger relief club, or volunteering your time as an administrative assistant, driver, packer or prepper. Now through the end of the month simply order a bowl of soup from McAlister’s Deli and 10 cents from every sale goes to Feed More’s Meals on Wheels program. And, through Dec. 1, you can donate an item to Feed More’s wish list for its Meals on Wheels clients – it’s filling 1,000 gift bags with both essentials and “things they’ll love.”
Since 2008, Shalom Farms has used sustainable growing practices to produce food for thousands of Richmonders. The 12-acre farm, which doubles as a learning lab, grew over a half-million servings of produce in 2019 alone. Shalom Farms works with community partners and programs to get healthy food back into the hands of those who need it most, distributing through the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, Grown to Go Mobile Market and Nutrition Distribution Network. While it has limited volunteering during the pandemic, you can still help the farm by donating funds online.