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Chambers compete collecting food for hungry

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber is among state chambers of commerce accepting Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's challenge to garner food and funds for food banks across Virginia.

The chamber representing Winchester, Frederick and Clarke counties recently announced it was joining the "friendly competition" to see who could bring in the most food to an area food bank. According to a Top of Virginia Regional Chamber news release, its drive -- which lasts from Memorial Day to Independence Day -- will benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

McDonnell announced the challenge in January during the Virginia Chamber of Commerce's "Chamber Day at the Capitol" in January, according to a news release from the governor's office.

"Since 2006, food banks have seen a 54 percent increase in demand while in the last 6 months, several food banks have experienced a 50 percent drop in food donations," McDonnell said.

The release goes on to state that McDonnell was partnering with the state chamber and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks on the campaign, and that he had started a similar food bank called Legal Food Frenzy while attorney general.

Chambers will be divided into one of three categories based on size, and the one that collects the most food for each category will win the "Governor's Bowl," according to the news release from the Top of Virginia chamber.

"More people than ever rely on emergency food assistance through the Food Bank each month," the release states. "Many are unemployed, underemployed and making tough choices between paying for food and life's basic necessities. By joining the Governor's Bowl you are providing a lifeline to those in need."

The regional chamber has three food drop-off sites in Winchester: its office at 407 S. Loudoun St.; the Food Bank, 1802 Roberts St.; and Ponte Vecchio Living, 3031 Valley Ave.

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce is accepting food donations at its office at 103 S. Main St., according to Executive Director Jenna French. Those bringing a non-perishable food item to the Business After Hours at 5:30 p.m. June 19 at DuPont Community Credit Union will receive an extra door-prize ticket, she said via email.

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