‘Desperate’ shortage of volunteers at Feeding Southwest Virginia

‘We need help. We need individuals. We need groups.’

SALEM, Va. – It’s not unusual for things to be slow this time of year at Feeding Southwest Virginia.

But it’s not a shortage of food. What they need, rather, is people to sort it.

“Moving into February, we’re not seeing the increase in volunteers we normally see and we need volunteers desperately," president and CEO Pamela Irvine said.

The shortage is so dire, there are 96 pallets of food waiting to go and two more truckloads in the parking lot. Other food never arrived at all.

“We've had to turn down food and we never want to turn down food. Food is very hard for us to find,” Irvine said.

Harry van Guilder has been volunteering for 14 years. He says anyone can do it.

“You don't have to have any special skills. All you need to do is be able to work with others, listen to what needs to be done and enjoy yourself while you are here,” said van Guilder.

Both Irvine and van Guilder look at the warehouse full of boxes and worry about the people who are not receiving it. People who depend upon the food to make ends meet.

There’s enough food in the warehouse that sorting it and preparing it to go out can look like an insurmountable task. But van Guilder says it’s easily doable – if they get some help.

“We need help. We need individuals. We need groups. We need couples that are willing to come in and give three hours to people who are hungry,” he said.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Feeding Southwest Virginia (Formerly Feeding America Southwest Virginia) at (540) 342-3011.

About the Author:

John Carlin co-anchors the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10.