Food pantry will continue operations for now

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

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A local food pantry that was last month faced with being kicked out of its building has received an extension until this fall, giving the organization the time to find a new location.

Originally, Community Resource Services (CRS), a not-for-profit founded in 2000, that provides a food pantry and other services for Lunenburg County was told by The Peoples Community Center Board (TPCC) that they would need to vacant the building by the end of March.

According to CRS executive director Donna Dagner, the organization and TPCC Board came to an agreement at TPCC’s quarterly meeting in March.

Late last year due to the food pantry’s continued growth, the TPCC Board agreed that the space available at the Center was inadequate and the food pantry program could no longer be sponsored.

The overwhelming value of the food pantry to local citizens and the positive impact its operations have on the community is a point that both organizations agree upon Dagner said.

Following the March meeting, Dagner said both agreed that the food pantry’s operations have in fact outgrown the space available at The Peoples Community Center.

Dagner has been working with representatives from the Town of Victoria to secure a new space for the food pantry since that decision was made.

It was in 2001 when the TPCC Board of Directors agreed to sponsor, house, store, and support a Food Pantry to provide a service to the community.

That’s when the name TPCC Food Pantry originated.

Dagner explained that the community center now plans to use the area where the organization houses coolers, freezers, food pantry equipment, and a room that houses tables.

“I explained that this posed a problem because the food pantry participates in a direct store program through Feedmore,” she added. “This means that food is donated and picked up daily from Food Lion, Walmart and Dollar General for the food pantry. 90% of the food picked up has to be either refrigerated or frozen. So we needed ready access to the four freezers and two commercial coolers daily. This is not possible.”

According to Dagner, a new board member of the community center noted, last year that “the food bank needs to find their own building.”

“About 18 months ago, the TPCC Board decided they wanted to use the room that housed the tables for a dressing room,” Dagner said. “ At our quarterly meeting, a request was made to move the tables to the backroom designated for the food pantry. I agreed to make it happen within the next 30 days… It was done.

Dagner continued explaining that the Board decided that the 250 chairs that have always been around the wall also needed to move into the backroom.

To date, CRS is making progress in finding a new location and Dagner said CRS has been and is currently sponsoring monthly fundraisers to help with funding.

“We have been offered a piece of land and have raised enough to buy this piece of land.,” Dagner said, “The plan is to place a steel building on this land. We have mailed out letters to 67 churches in Lunenburg and Nottoway counties and 107 letters to local businesses asking for sponsorship. We are feverishly and constantly submitting applications for grants and monies from Foundations.”

In 2022 the CRS food pantry fed 17,000 people and distributed 42,000+ pounds of food, with 90% of those being senior citizens.