Food Independence: Celebrating 2023 and looking ahead

“That was the year that was!” That certainly describes 2023 for Food Independence. We distributed food to over 600 different households with about 1400 residents, averaging 375 boxes per month to 340 households with nearly 800 residents, continuing our trend of high annual growth in demand.

Just how much food is needed to serve our current numbers? We sourced over 155,000 pounds of food in 2023! Most will be distributed before the holidays. We get donated or “low-retail” food from Feeding SWVA, wholesale produce from SWVA Farmers Market, bulk purchase of sale items from Food City, and local food donations. We purchase most food below retail but still spent $37,270 ($0.24/lb average cost!) on food alone in 2023! A great group of foundations, businesses and private donors provided the funding to procure what was needed. Our incredible volunteers unload, unpack, repack, and distribute all that food. A huge “Thank You” to all our partners, volunteers and donors that made this possible!

This year has been phenomenal but what about the future? Our volunteers are better than ever as is community support, and our food suppliers remain committed to helping us. We worry about more growth given facility and infrastructure limits but we are okay. We also end the year in good financial shape which is both odd and rarely admitted by nonprofits. We are frugal and have a wonderful group of donors that support us. They proved this in November when they responded to a request for support for Thanksgiving turkey breasts and donated enough in a week to get that and some ham for December. Their generosity for their neighbors was amazing.

Soooo, we are in good financial shape for 2024 and many just donated for the holidays; think I will close by asking for END OF YEAR DONATIONS! (At least I am honest about the audacity, but there is a future need.) We want to stay a year ahead of need since we believe dependable and consistent food assistance is essential for the food insecure. We have proven our devotion, frugality, and ability to save; please help us build a sustainable program for our clients. Give as you are able. If you gave in November, thank you, but if you are considering end of year donations, or want to help assure future assistance for local food insecure, please do contribute as we start our “drive for 25 – keeping hunger a year away”. Donations can be mailed to Food Independence, P.O. Box 201, Independence, VA 24348 or given through PayPal on the Grayson LandCare website.

The Steering Committee and clients thank you for the support of all kinds – thoughts, words and deeds – you have given Food Independence and our clients the last 3.5 years. Happy Holidays and New Year!  The Free Market is a non-profit initiative of Grayson LandCare, Inc. 

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