Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, Inc.
2050 Lambs Rd.
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
|Primary Contact||Jane Colony Mills|
|Executive Director||Jane Colony Mills|
|Primary Focus Area||Hunger/Housing/Poverty|
To give food with kindness and compassion to those seeking assistance while providing an opportunity for volunteers to serve their neighbors in Charlottesville and surrounding communities.
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry’s mission is to give food with kindness and compassion to anyone seeking assistance while providing an opportunity for volunteers to serve their neighbors. Founded in 2004 as a mission of Charlottesville’s First United Methodist Church, Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) Virginia nonprofit in 2011, and in 2015, opened a “client choice” food pantry in a warehouse at 2050 Lambs Road in Albemarle County. This 5,900 square foot facility vastly increased our storage capacity and, under non-COVID-19 operations, allowed pantry visitors to shop for food that suits dietary restrictions and that their families will eat.
When COVID-19 began, Loaves & Fishes converted our indoor shopping model to a drive-through distribution where staff and volunteers sort and pre-pack a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and bakery items, frozen meat, and shelf-stable foods into grocery carts and safely deliver a minimum of 100 pounds of food to each household as they wait in their cars in the parking lot.
Loaves & Fishes’ primary program is to rescue food from local grocery stores, combine it with commodities ordered from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and purchased foods not available by donation, and distribute about 7 days of food per visit to people who cannot afford to buy it for themselves. In 2021 Loaves & Fishes provided 2 million pounds of food, 29% of which was fresh produce and another 39% of which was fresh dairy, bread, and frozen meat, to more than 53,000 individuals.
|Description:||Food Rescue and Distribution: Loaves & Fishes rescues food from local grocery stores, orders USDA commodities from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and purchases foods not available through donation to provide 10 days of food for each pantry visitor. |
Nutrition: Loaves & Fishes’ full-time registered dietitian nutritionist helps choose a variety of healthy foods for each distribution; publishes a monthly Nutrition to Go newsletter in English and Spanish with recipes, food preparation and storage tips, and information about seasonal foods; and goes car-to-car with food samples, recipes, and to talk with pantry visitors about any dietary restrictions or health concerns. Loaves & Fishes can accommodate gluten- and lactose-free, vegetarian and vegan, and diabetic and other special diets.
Active in our Community
Partners: Loaves & Fishes works with Region 10, Salvation Army, The Haven, The Crossings, Westhaven Clinic, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Alliance for Interfaith Ministries, International Neighbors, the IRC, UVA and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospitals, area Departments of Social Service, Abundant Life, and many others to ensure that our neighbors have access to adequate healthy food.
Deliveries: Volunteers from the Blue Ridge Church of Christ deliver food from Loaves & Fishes once each month to 50 elderly or disabled homebound Charlottesville residents, and First United Methodist Church members pack and deliver four weekend meals for 70 Woodbrook Elementary students who rely on school for much of their nutrition during the school year.
Multicultural: We work with UVa’s Multilingual Outreach Volunteer Effort to translate information about our programs into languages pantry visitors speak: Spanish, Arabic, Dari, Pashto, Nepali, and Swahili, and we have Spanish-speaking staff or volunteers who welcome and register visitors at most distributions. We are sourcing culturally relevant foods such as nixtamalized corn flour and halal meat to provide to Latinx and Muslim visitors.
|Examples of Program Success:||350-400 households visit the pantry each week|
Each household receives ~120 lbs. of food
Households can visit two times each month and receive fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread and pastries, frozen meats, canned fruits, vegetables, and meat, cooking oil, dried foods (pasta, rice, oatmeal, raisins), potatoes, and juice.
|Total Program Budget:||$4.8M includes $3.7M in donated food|
|Description:||100 volunteers help Loaves & Fishes each week, sorting donated food, pre-bagging food for distributions and deliveries, registering pantry visitors, answering phones, and loading and pushing carts to visitors during food distributions.|
|Examples of Program Success:||In 2021, 400 volunteers provided 8,500 hours of volunteer labor in 3,300 shifts at Loaves & Fishes.|
|Total Program Budget:||$5000|
|Title:||Registered Dietitian Nutritionist|
|Description:||Loaves & Fishes’ two Registered Dietitian Nutritionists go to each car during distributions to talk with pantry visitors while they wait to receive their food. They ask about specific dietary needs in the household, including health conditions like diabetes, celiac, kidney, and heart disease, and give visitors cookbooks, recipes, and guidance on how to eat to best control these conditions. With their guidance, we can assemble a grocery cart full of food that those in the household are familiar with and will eat. The dietitians also distribute food samples and some of the more unusual food we sometimes receive as donations, like tripe, lard, papayas, and some less-well-known vegetables through this car-to-car method, as this personal approach helps them identify the households who recognize, understand, and know how to prepare these foods. |
Dietitians identified and sourced foods that we can provide to Afghan families newly arrived in our community – foods that they will recognize and eat that are culturally different from American foods, and publish monthly English-Spanish Nutrition to Go newsletters, with each month focusing on a different theme, such as tips for using a microwave safely, accessing SNAP benefits, deciphering nutrition labels, food date labeling, and growing your own vegetables. Each newsletter includes recipes for preparing some of the food pantry visitors receive at Loaves & Fishes.
|Examples of Program Success:||Loaves & Fishes’ full-time registered dietitian nutritionist has expanded our monthly nutrition newsletter to include Spanish articles and recipes for seasonally-available foods; posted recipes, nutrition newsletters, and links to other national nutrition sources on our website; tested meal kits and recipes with large households; improved food provided in weekend backpacks for local public school students; and surveyed our visitors on how much and how frequently they eat fresh vegetables and meals together as a family.|
|Total Program Budget:||$85,000|