What a month! Donations to the Rappahannock Food Pantry in November blew away all previous records. A total of 12,055 pounds of food — six tons — came into the Pantry. An amazing cadre of volunteers boxed and distributed nearly 200 Thanksgiving food boxes. There is so much to be thankful for:
Cub Scout Pack 123 collected and delivered 532 pounds of food to the Pantry under its “Scouting for Food” program. Thanks go out to the Scouts, Cubmaster Dan Bailey, and deliverer Yogi Bear. Rappahannock Girl Scouts brought in 69 pounds of food.
Jeff Perry, sixth grade science and math teacher at Wakefield Country Day School, consumed another worm to make good on what he promised to do if Wakefield students collected 2,000 cans of food. Wakefield kids came up with 2,600 cans. Mr. Perry and students Tanner Perry and Bret Heddleston dropped off the donation weighing 1,641 pounds to the Pantry. Way to go, Wakefield!
Union First Market Bank (formerly Rappahannock National Bank) contributed bucks, boxes, brawn, and food to the Pantry’s Thanksgiving effort. The bank gave us a check for $1,000 toward holiday dinners and also the boxes to package the dinners. Sharon Woodward delivered 131 pounds of cranberry sauce and 375 pounds of sweet potatoes. Union Bank regional president Mike Leake, his wife, Pam, their daughter, Caite, and bank employees Kelly-Jo Settle, Sarah Morgan, and Ashley Hawkins spent the Saturday before Thanksgiving packaging the food into boxes.
Waterpenny Farm donated 346 pounds of turnips, peppers, lettuce, greens, and bok choy. Sunnyside Farm dropped off 139 pounds of potatoes, celeriac, and other produce (in addition to 393 pounds of vegetables earlier in November.)
We were able to give each Pantry recipient a 10-pound bag of turnips thanks to gleaners from the Society of St. Andrew (www.endhunger.org) after St. Andrew’s volunteer Skeeter Ramey dropped off 2,200 pounds of turnips. The Society of St. Andrew salvages fresh produce that wouldn’t be harvested and donates it to feed the hungry.
Steve Welch of Pepperidge Farm continued his outstanding generosity by supplying not only his regular delivery of bread, but also most of the stuffing for the Thanksgiving boxes.
To handle the special Thanksgiving distribution, Pantry manager Mimi Forbes set up a drive-through line and had recipients sign up for time slots on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. As they drove up, volunteers loaded boxes containing potatoes, onions, stuffing and cans of cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, and corn, a bag of turnips and a 12-pound turkey. Thirty-three lucky folks received a pumpkin pie, courtesy of Mary Arthur’s culinary arts class at Rappahannock County High School and the Girl Scouts.
Bob Benyo and his business, Premier Sports Fields, lent the Pantry a trailer to store the packed Thanksgiving boxes. Mimi said, “I was so grateful to have the use of Bob’s box trailer. It worked perfectly to store all the packed boxes and to serve the people as they arrived. Thank you, Bob!”
Meat donations were amazing last month. A total of 1,042 pounds of venison came in from Hunters for the Hungry and from individual hunters whose deer were processed at no cost to them through Rappahannock County’s program. (The county will pay Manfred Call to process deer donated to the Pantry. Hunters can call him on his cell phone — 540 522-2896 — to make arrangements to meet him at his barn. Manfred owns Muskrat Haven. The road to his barn is off Cedarbreak Lane, just west of Muskrat Haven on U.S. 211.)
A Flint Hill farm contributed 444 pounds of beef. Pantry freezers were so full that much of the venison and beef had to be stored at Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church in Sperryville.
Catholic Charities of the Arlington Diocese brought in 1,224 pounds of canned and boxed food in November.
Last month’s sing-a-long at Trinity Episcopal Church was a huge hit and a ton of fun, by all reports. It netted $1,300 for the Pantry.
Regular Saturday volunteer Ce Pike donated $1,000 to the Pantry in honor of the women of “Loudoun Valley #70 Walk to Emmaus” (www.lvemmaus.org).