Supervisors approve food pantry

Published 8:30 am Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Community Resource Services (CRS) food pantry is one step closer to having a facility of its own, following approval of the Lunenburg Board of Supervisors (BOS) .

On Thursday, June 13 the BOS unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the organization’s new location and building.

According to CRS Executive Director Donna Dagner, who addressed supervisors on Thursday, July 13, CRC has two acres of land on Tomlinson Road in Victoria where the organization wants to place a 6,000-square-foot steel building to house the CRS Food Pantry.

Danger told the BOS members that 14.9% of Lunenburg citizens live below the poverty level and that the food pantry has been a lifesaver for some.

Ronald Walton from Charlotte County took the opportunity to address the BOS on Thursday as well, telling members the importance of the food pantry and its need.

“I live on less than $1000 a month and I try to come to the food pantry once a week and it really helps out.” Walton said.

The 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) last year that they would need to vacate the building which has housed the food pantry for over 20 years.

In early Spring the two organizations came to an agreement that would allow CRC to utilize the space for a little longer but ultimately CRC would need to find a location that better fit its growing needs.

“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.

Dagner also pointed out that CRS has experiencing an influx of clients since the closing of The Victoria Salvation Army and the Victoria United Methodist Church Food Pantry

According to Dagner the senior citizen population is its most-served age group.

“Eighty percent of our clients and 95% of volunteer staff are aged 60 and above,” Dagner said. “Because many of them are on a fixed budget, they are at a higher risk for food insecurity, especially with soaring prices at the grocery store.”

According to Dagner 1/3 of all seniors report trimming the size of meals, skipping meals and not being able to afford fresh produce and other healthy choices.

Food insecurity is a serious issue that occurs when households do not have access to enough food for a healthy lifestyle.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 10% of Virginians experienced food insecurity prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this percentage increased significantly to 22% between April and May of 2020, as per the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Nationally, the rate of food insecurity remained unchanged at 10.5% between 2019 and 2020, according to the USDA. However, there was a noticeable increase in the usage of food pantries between those two years.

In 2019, just over 4% of families utilized food pantries. However, this number rose to almost 7% in 2020, according to the USDA.