'We don’t want anyone going without food’: Mobile food pantry feeds Rustburg community

20 volunteers loaded more than a dozen cars with food for families in need

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Time is of the essence for some people in the Rustburg area who are trying to make ends meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Lynchburg is now stepping in to help.

“We knew that there was a need,” said Kristi West, partner services coordinator for Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s Lynchburg branch.

On Thursday, car after car lined up at Rustburg Elementary with trunks open, ready to be filled with food from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

Elizabeth Hawkins is a stay-at home mom who’s got her hands full.

“Just the kids being home more and trying to make sure that they’re fed,” Hawkins said.

This food could not have come at better time for John Laprade who lives on a fixed income.

“Everything helps, a little bit helps when you’re retired on a fixed income money; it’s kind of tough,” Laprade said.

West said they’ve fed this part of the community before, but not to this capacity.

“We do know that that are a lot of people that are in Rustburg that are going to pantries that are in Lynchburg. That’s quite a drive for folks that are on limited resources,” West said.

With resources becoming even more limited for some due to the pandemic, the need to get a mobile food pantry up and running was dire.

“So it just kind of pushed us to really get this going in case there was a lot of need,” West said.

Thanks to Pacific Life, about 20 volunteers loaded hundreds of bags of vegetables, fruit and boxes of canned food into the cars.

"So, we don’t want anyone going without food,” West said.

To better reach the Rustburg community in the future West hopes to team up with a church as a brick and mortar space to provide food on a regular basis.

“Thank you so much and stay safe,” Hawkins said.

There will be more mobile food pantries on June 11 and July 9 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.