Food Independence: A healthy 4 year old!

Sometimes it is hard to believe Food Independence celebrates its fourth year of food assistance to our community this month. Given huge growth in demand and survival during and after Covid, it is equally hard to believe it has only been four years. We have tripled the number served, now averaging about 350 households with about 800 people each month. We have served about 1,000 different households with over 2,000 residents during the 4 years. We provide more food per month than when we started and hope to increase quantity and quality, if possible. We provided over 300,000 pounds of food to people in our community during the last 24 months, to meet the unexpected surge in demand due to the end of Covid supplemental assistance programs and inflation.

This is nuts!!! This was not in our plans! BUT it is also one of the most rewarding experiences many of us have ever undertaken. How did we do it? Our more than 60 amazing volunteers are the only way we can serve as many as we do, with no paid staff!  But, buying hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and paying all the operating expenses requires a lot of funding. We have raised enough money to “serve and save” thanks to individual donations, from $10 -$10,000, as well as grants from groups like Twin County Community Foundation. We try to keep enough funds in reserve to “stay a year ahead of hunger” as the need is regular and long term. Fiscal and functional sustainability are critical. Our local community has kept us funded and well “staffed” through generous donations of time and money. Thank you all, from client to donor to volunteer for your kindness and support during the last four years. We will remain just as dependent on you as we work to serve your community during the next 4, or 40, years!

I (Tom Simpson) thank volunteers and donors often, as I should. I also want to thank our Steering Committee for their hard work, wisdom and support. Jackie Hayter’s work as Volunteer Coordinator and my wife Anita’s work as Treasurer, info collector and record keeper, have been especially valuable! 

If you would like to donate to Food Independence in celebration of our 4 year/48 month “birthday”, you can donate through PayPal on the Grayson LandCare website (specify Food Independence) or send a check to Food Independence, P.O. Box 201, Independence, VA 24348 (avoids PayPal fee). Some people do monthly e-check donations – a great way to make a big donation, a little at a time. If you would like to volunteer, send an email to [email protected] or call Jackie Hayter, Volunteer Coordinator, at 910-639-7170. We have tasks for all ages and abilities.

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