By Taylor Boyd
The Patrick County Community Food Bank distributed 360 food boxes to those in need during the Christmas holiday, according to Rhonda Pruitt, director.
Pruitt said that number is in line with the number of boxes distributed in 2020.
“We’re still on a regular month at a regular basis of around 250 to 275 boxes a month, but the holidays are different. I have heard of years that topped 400, but that didn’t happen for 2021 or 2020. So, we were almost there for Christmas, but not quite,” she said.
The organization also passed out 320 boxes for Thanksgiving.
Pruitt said resources created to help with COVID-19, like the Pandemic-EBT, has caused a slight difference in the group’s monthly numbers.
“It’s really hard over the past year to determine what a regular, normal month is going to look like, because with all the COVID-19 extras, it’s just not a really good way to determine what that’s going to look like,” she said.
Pruitt said she hopes the group’s monthly numbers will increase.
“That’s what we’re there for – to help the people,” she said.
A typical box from the agency includes corn meal or biscuit mix, mixed fruit, vegetables and soups from local stores, along with donated items like crackers, Triscuits, and pastas.
Items sent by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), such as canned goods, beans, rice, and boxes of mashed potatoes, also are included in food boxes.
A non-food item, like toilet paper, also is included, Pruitt said.
“Typically, we have started having something in the boxes each month that is an extra. Like we don’t always have a meat, so we’ll buy a meat and put it in the boxes,” she said.
The organization also tries to buy items to create meals.
“We did a soup box for October that included everything you would need to make a big pot of soup, with some crackers and things of that nature. Our Thanksgiving boxes had a traditional everything you’d need for the meal, other than a pumpkin pie,” she said.
Pruitt said it is rare for the group to receive the same food items each month.
“We try to make sure something in there a little bit different every month,” she added.
Monetary donations and checks, payable to the Patrick County Community Food Bank, may be mailed to P.O. Box 1304 Stuart, VA, 24171.
Donations of non-perishable items may be left under the covered porch at the back of the building.
Anyone who is on food stamps, Medicaid, draws social security, or is under the income guidelines are eligible to receive monthly food boxes.
For more information, call (276) 694-6300, leave a message and a call back number, or contact the group on social media at Facebook.com/PatrickCoFoodBank/.