Chamber Spotlight: Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Shared by Jane Colony Mills, Executive Director. You can reach Jane at email@example.com.
What does your organization do?
Loaves & Fishes rescues food from nine local grocery stores, inspects, sorts, and combines it with food donated by and purchased from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and donations from the community, and purchases foods not available by donation to distribute 7 days’ worth of food per person, per visit to people to anyone who visits the pantry.
In 2023 Loaves & Fishes gave out 2.4 million pounds of food, 64% of which was fresh produce, dairy, bread, and frozen meat, to 100,235 area individuals, a 33% increase from 2022..
What's the most important thing you want people to know about your organization?
We give about 100 pounds of free groceries, most of which is fresh or frozen, to anyone who comes to the pantry for help.
Tell us about something new and exciting your organization is doing.
Loaves & Fishes' Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are starting cooking classes in February to help pantry visitors learn to prepare and enjoy some of the food we give out.
Tell us about one of your recent success stories.
We were able to continue giving out groceries in 2023, with a 33% increase in need for food, during six months while our building was being renovated to add office and conference space and a teaching kitchen.
What services or products do you offer?
Loaves & Fishes offers free fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable groceries to anyone in need and has dietitians on site to customize food received according to dietary and cultural restrictions.
What makes your organization stand out?
Loaves & Fishes gives out food four days each week, offers appointments on one of those days (the rest are first-come, first-served), the majority of the food we give out is perishable, we offer nutrition education and customized food, and people can pick up food from us two times every month.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am proud of Loaves & Fishes' ability to continue operating as an essential business throughout the COVID pandemic and our ability to continue growing to meet the needs of our neighbors who struggle in a tough economy.
What else do you want us to know?
Loaves & Fishes started as a church food pantry and has grown into the largest free food distributor in the greater Charlottesville area.
What Chamber benefits do you appreciate as a member?
Affinity groups, opportunities for professional development and networking, increasing our visibility