Local food pantry shelves stocked Thursday

Jeff Cope, manager of Strasburg Food Lion, hoists a case of corn in a bucket brigade approach of stocking the Keep the Change food pantry at Abba’s House in Woodstock on Thursday. Area Food Lion store managers descended upon the food pantry to stock the shelves with 36,000 donated meals that equate to 4,800 pounds of food. The pantry serves more than 200 persons in need per week. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – It was a rainy day on Thursday but moods were high at the Keep the Change Food Pantry as 4,792 pounds of food were unloaded from a Food Lion truck and placed onto the pantry’s shelves.

The food, donated by Food Lion as part of its Great Pantry Makeover Contest, is enough to make 36,000 meals, said Misty Mayhew,  store manager of the Food Lion in Woodstock.

“One of our functions at Food Lion for charities are that we feed people. We sell groceries. We feed people,” Mayhew said.

Michelle Eagle, director of operations for Food Lion, noted, “The contest is corporately driven for needy pantries. It’s for people that have taken the time to submit what they need.”

She added, “This pantry services 200 families every Tuesday. It’s something we can get behind.”

Randy Tiller, store manager of the Food Lion store in Culpeper, stocks a case of tomato sauce on a shelf inside the Keep the Change Food Pantry in Woodstock on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

When the food entered the building, food was passed in bucket brigade fashion – from person to person and then placed onto the shelves.

Food Lion representatives wore bright yellow shirts that said, “Fighting Hunger, One Pantry at a Time.”

The atmosphere was light and everyone was smiling as the shelves filled up.  Jokes were exchanged and there was much laughter during the stocking.

Abena Foreman-Trice, director of communications for the Blue Ridge Food Bank, said Food Lion has been very good to them.

“Pantries have become a lifeline,” Foreman-Trice said. “It’s important to make sure our pantries are stocked in the winter months as people make the choice to heat their house or buy food.”

Tibor Kunu, store manager of the Food Lion store in Front Royal, lugs a case of peanut butter during the stocking of Keep the Change food pantry in Woodstock on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Blue Ridge Food Bank is a partner of Keep the Change, which is operated by Abba’s House At My Church, and was instrumental in getting this pantry involved in the contest.

Donna Orndorff, Keep the Change pantry director, said they never turn anyone away.

“If you’re hungry, we’ll give you food,” she said.

The Rev. Tony Bates, of Abba’s House At My Church, said he’s “extremely blessed and honored to have Food Lion partnering with us.”

“I remember when we fed one person that first day we were open. And now we’re going to be five years old in December,” Bates said.  “Hopefully it will be well received and [the public} will know that there’s a church here to help and to fill the void, not just physically but have some spiritual solutions to their problems too.”

The food pantry is located at 23749 Old Valley Pike,  Woodstock.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com