By Taylor Boyd
Rhonda Pruitt was named the new director of the Patrick County Community Food Bank.
Pruitt, who has volunteered with the food bank for about 10 years, said she was asked to apply for the position.
“I was asked because the current director was leaving and the person that asked me seemed to think that I would be a good addition. I agreed that I would apply. They accepted my resume and asked if I would come on as their director,” she said.
Pruitt said her primary goal in the new post is to increase the number of families, particularly younger families, that receive assistance from the food bank.
“The ultimate goal is to bring more families into the fold, more families into the food bank receiving so that we can grow,” she said.
The food bank currently has distribution centers in Stuart as well as the Meadows and Dan and Ararat communities.
“We want to grow those and possibly” expand into other areas, like Woolwine, she said.
“We would be interested in finding someone that might be able to get up a few people in that area that would also like to be recipients of the food bank boxes, and someone that could come here and get the boxes, take them there and hand them out,” she said.
She said the food bank currently has around 30 volunteers, not including those at the Meadows of Dan and Ararat locations.
“I would like to build our volunteer base. Right now, we primarily have older volunteers. I would like to bring some much strong backs in on packing and distribution days,” she said.
Pruitt said the organization has recently started including one non-food item in their food boxes.
“Last month we did toilet paper. This month, we plan to do laundry detergent. A lot of those things are things that you can’t buy with food stamps, and we would like to be able to help provide those items if needed,” she said.
Pruitt said she would also like to change some of the items that are included in the boxes the organization distributes.
“I personally would like to have meals instead of just random items in the box. I would like to have something you can make a meal out of or several meals out of in the boxes each time,” she said, adding she also has discussed that possibility with board members.
The food bank is slightly limited in that goal because it receives some of its food from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and doesn’t get to pick the items they receive, Pruitt said.
“Sometimes, items will be put in the boxes that I would have never went to the store and bought. But that’s what was sent so that’s we’re using,” she said.
Pruitt, of Stuart, said the organization is not looking to increase or change donation days.
“Right now, we distribute on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday, and distribution is from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.,” she said. “We’re just discussing where we want to go want and what we want to do. We’re trying to make plans little by little, but slowly overtime I hope to involve different programs.”
In addition to the food bank, Pruitt also is involved with the Backpack Program at Christ Baptist Church in Critz. The program serves students in Patrick Springs Primary School and Hardin Reynolds Memorial School, and also helps provide snacks for students at Patrick Springs.