Coastal Virginia Magazine Giving Back Awards 2014
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4. FOODBANK OF SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA AND THE EASTERN SHORE
800 Tidewater Dr., Norfolk. 757-627-6599. FoodbankOnline.org
Number of votes: 1,194
Established: March 1981
Mission: Leading the effort to eliminate hunger in our community.
Key people: Joanne E. Batson, CEO; Renee Figurelle, COO; Marianne Smith Vargas, CPO; Van Woods, CFO; Kenneth J. Thomas, board president
Programs: The heart of the Foodbank is the Warehouse Distribution Program, which includes all food and grocery products collected from food drives, purchases and donations from manufacturers and supermarkets. On average, more than 1.4 million pounds of food and product are distributed monthly—millions of pounds of food are sorted, boxed and delivered to 400 partner agencies and programs.
Other programs include USDA Distribution—the Foodbank is a Commonwealth of Virginia contractor for the distribution of USDA commodities to designated agencies—and Mobile Pantries, a powerful tool to deliver fresh, refrigerated and frozen items in communities and neighborhoods that do not have adequate grocery stores, feeding agencies or food pantries.
More than 87,700 youth in the area are eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program at their schools. The Foodbank has numerous programs specifically designed to meet the needs of those children throughout the year including Kids Cafe®, a national program administered by the Foodbank to reach children after school; the BackPack Program, which distributes food for the weekend and school breaks to children at 49 local elementary schools; and the Summer Food Service Program, which provides healthy meals and snacks to kids who might otherwise go without nutritious food when school is out.
Volunteer opportunities: More than 7,100 volunteers contributed a total of almost 47,000 hours to the Foodbank last year. The Foodbank welcomes individuals and groups to work on a variety of tasks related to its mission of leading the effort to eliminate hunger—from one-time shifts to more long-term commitments. Projects include food sorting, BackPack packing, mobile pantry distribution, event opportunities and more.
What are the biggest struggles your organization faces? “Securing the necessary resources—food, funds and volunteers. Without all three elements firing at top capacity, food cannot be distributed to those in our community who struggle with hunger.”
What is the most rewarding part about what your non-profit does? “Knowing that, with the support of our community, we can make sure children, families and seniors have food on their tables and hope in their hearts. Seeing the smiles and hearing the sincere thank yous from our customers keeps us highly motivated to work toward a hunger-free community.”
5. HOPE FOR LIFE RESCUE, INC.
610 Jack Rabbit Rd., Suite 1, Virginia Beach. 757-491-4609. HopeForLifeRescue.com
Number of votes: 790
Established: February 2002
Mission: To rescue and place abandoned, abused and neglected street animals and those on “death row.” Each animal receives everything they need, including major surgeries. Hope For Life has rescued more than 3,500 animals in the 12 years it has been in operation. The animals are brought to full health and are spayed/neutered before going to their forever homes.
Key people: Everyone is key in the mission—volunteers, staff and the director Pauline Cushman. Hope for Life believes in building lasting relationships with their volunteers, adoptive parents, foster parents and vets.
Programs: The primary focus is on rescue, rehabilitation and adoptions. The animals they rescue are given medical treatment, shelter and loving care while they work toward placing them with the right forever home. They see some of the worst cases of animal abuse and neglect and believe firmly that every animal deserves a chance, “not just the healthy ones.” Rescues free roam or live in cheerfully decorated glass rooms at Hope Center, a six-room urban sanctuary in Virginia Beach, until they go to their permanent homes.
Hope’s Garden Resort & Boutique offers doggie daycare, grooming and boarding for cats and dogs, with all proceeds going directly to support the mission of Hope for Life Rescue.
Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers are a vital part of the day-to-day operations of Hope for Life Rescue. They serve as sanctuary workers, adoption counselors and cleaning personnel to clean and sanitize the facilty.
What are the biggest struggles your organization faces? Hope for Life Rescue, Inc. operates solely on donations from people and businesses in the community. “Our biggest challenges are securing financial support and continuing to maintain, upgrade and expand our facility.”
What is the most rewarding part about what your non-profit does? “There is no greater joy than saving a life and finding homes for abused and abandoned animals. We get to see the transformation from ‘hopeless’ to ‘hopeful and happy’ every day.”