FACES receives grant

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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Food Lion Feeds announced last week that FACES Food Pantry of Farmville was granted $3,500 in funding to help with continued efforts to care for neighbors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant will enable the agency to purchase food and other critical items needed to meet increasing demand at a time when unemployment has reached more than 14% nationwide.

“This is an unprecedented and challenging time, and we know our neighbors are counting on us more than ever to help nourish their families,” Meg Ham, Food Lion president, said. “From school children missing meals while schools are out, to parents who have lost jobs, and seniors who are struggling to make ends meet, we’re committed to serving all of our neighbors now more than ever.”

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President of FACES Ellery Sedgwick said the grant funds would be used mainly for the purchase of food.

“FACES is able to buy food from FeedMore in Richmond at 19 cents a pound for most dry goods and meat but only 4 cents a pound for fresh produce,” Sedgwick said. “The $3,500 should allow us to buy around 35,000 pounds.”

According to Sedgwick, this is not the first time the agency has received funds from Food Lion.

Sedgwick says that Food Lion has not only provided monetary funds in the past but also weekly pick up of unsold perishable goods.

As with most businesses, FACES has seen the impact of COVID-19, and although a number of requirements had to be made, it has not interrupted weekly deliveries and distributions.

“To protect the health of clients and volunteers, we have shifted from the walk through to drive through,” Sedgwick said. “We also require volunteers to wear masks and gloves and to space themselves.”

With the pandemic outbreak, FACES has relaxed its eligibility requirements in order to serve any local residents in need of food, who have been laid off or lost their jobs, Sedgwick said. “We have also been designated by Feedmore as a regional Emergency Relief Agency responsible for serving anyone whose food pantry is currently closed. Most agencies have remained open, but we have had a good number of new households register,” he added.

FACES was founded in 1981 by a group including ministers, farmers, homemakers, teachers, and others with the mission of distributing donated food to local families in need.

Since then, it has evolved into one of the largest and most efficient food agencies in Virginia. FACES now distributes food weekly to an average of 900 households representing 2,000 individuals carefully screened to document needs.