Food bank fundraiser makes gains

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank has announced it collected 19 percent more food for area residents in a recent national food drive than it did in the same food drive in 2014.

In the 23rd Letter Carrier’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the food bank collected 203,365 meals for hungry residents in the Blue Ridge area.

Abena Foreman-Trice, director of communications for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, attributed the increase to more generous residents “clued in” to the food bank’s largest drive of the year.

“It may have been a combination of just more people getting the word, a strong showing or participation from among the post offices,” she said.

Grateful for the support of post office employees for agreeing to participate, she said, “It’s quite a tremendous task and we’re glad that they do it every year.”

The food drive benefits residents in the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s service area, which covers the Shenandoah Valley and parts of Northern Virginia.

On May 9, residents left bags of nonperishable groceries at their mailboxes for mail carriers to collect and transport to their post offices. There, food bank volunteers sorted and loaded the food to be distributed to individuals and families in need around the region.

Winchester’s service area, which covers the counties of Frederick, Fauquier, Page, Loudoun, Clarke, Warren and Shenandoah and the city of Winchester, collected 50,387 pounds of food, equaling 41,989 meals.

Food collected through the drive was delivered to the food bank’s 224 partner agencies.

“It sets us up for the summer months, because that’s a time in general when food donations tend to decline,” Foreman-Trice said.

“We tend to see a slight dip in donations [after spring], but results like this really help us to stay well stocked as we enter the summer months.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com