'They are the heart of this organization’: God’s Pit Crew treated to Food for Frontline meals

DANVILLE, Va. – 10 News viewers have donated more than $30,000 to help local restaurants and feed essential workers.

In the final week of Food for Frontline, God’s Pit Crew volunteers were treated as they continued to work around the clock.

Inside their warehouse, volunteers were building the frames of two homes for victims of March’s tornadoes in Tennessee.

“It has been about as crazy as crazy could be,” said Randy Johnson, God’s Pit Crew founder.

Right after storms blew through the Volunteer State, COVID-19 touched down in the U.S., sending everyone home.

The pandemic experience for this nonprofit’s staff has been much different than most.

“It seems like the world stopped and we got accelerated,” said Johnson.

Typically, God’s Pit Crew runs on hundreds of volunteers. But during the stay-at-home order, no more than 10 at a time could help.

“What do we do? We’ve got to help. This is what we’re built for; it’s what we’re made for,” said Johnson. “In the same amount of time, we’ve basically responded to five major disasters.”

With a skeleton crew, the nonprofit has sent out more than 50 semi-truck loads of donations as part of coronavirus and tornado relief.

Across town, Joe & Mimma’s staff cranked out hot sandwiches bought with donations from 10 New viewers to the Food for Frontline initiative, giving this family-owned business a boost.

“We’re really happy to prepare all the stuff and really happy to cook the food for the people,” said Vincenzo Badalamenti, whose family owns Joe & Mimma’s. “People have been good to us, so we’re really happy about that.”

Joe & Mimma’s staff unloaded the meals at the God’s Pit Crew warehouse and wheeled them in to the breakroom.

“...We knew we loved them. We knew we needed them, but we really know now after having to have so many of them stay away and try to continue to operate without them,” said Johnson. “We really understand, they are the heart of this organization. without them it simply does not exist.”

The volunteers are already moving on to the next project: Helping a family that is now homeless and sick in Tennessee.

“No place to live, all your belongings gone, you’ve lost your house, you’ve lost your vehicles, you lost all your belongings in the storm, now her husband’s in the hospital and she can’t even go in the hospital to be with him, she was just completely devastated,” said Johnson.

About the Author

After working and going to school in Central Virginia for over five years, Lindsey’s made her way back home to the mountains.

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