Last week’s editorial in the Rappahannock News talks about Rappahannock Food Pantry Day’s “dazzling success.” Walter Nicklin noted that the amount of money raised (about $30,000) and the amount of food donated (almost 2,400 pounds) were dazzling. He went on to say that there were other less easily quantifiable rewards. Jan Clatterbuck in her column cites some of the “amazing” community efforts. They are right. Rappahannock County was at its very best on Pantry Day: the spring weather and the county landscape were beautiful; participation in events was high and the generosity of the community extraordinary.
The purpose of this letter is to thank as many of those people who made this remarkable day happen as I can remember. (Unfortunately, my aging brain is not as good at remembering as it used to be.)
Starting with the committee: Hal Hunter, Beverly and John Fox Sullivan, Mimi Forbes, Melissa Harris, Molly Peterson and Mary Ann Kuhn started with the usual evening fundraiser and it grew into an all-day event for the whole community. The Board of Supervisors and then the Washington Town Council passed resolutions establishing Pantry Day and then it really grew. Additional suggestions for activities came from individuals on Rappnet as well as from organizations volunteering to help. A number of groups celebrated by holding food drives for the Pantry. These included the Girl Scouts; the Belle Meade, Hearthstone and Mountain Laurel Montessori schools, the Rappahannock/Culpeper Baseball League; Amissville Ruritan; the Universal Unitarians of the Blue Ridge (UUBridge); Narmada Winery and R.H. Ballard. St. Peter’s had an extraordinary bake sale.
Beyond donating food and money, community members could celebrate Pantry Day at events throughout the day. They brought their pets (or just themselves) to the Pet Parade outside the Pantry where Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) members, Pantry board members and other Pantry volunteers assisted. Trinity Church donated the proceeds of the sales from a lemonade stand nearby.
Headwater’s Farm to Table program and the Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School staff, regular donors of fresh produce to the Pantry, demonstrated gardening in raised beds. In the afternoon, there was an open house at the Pantry. Baked goods were provided by the culinary arts program at the high school.’
In the evening, there was a huge fundraising event at the Sullivans’ home in Washington, sponsored by Flavor magazine. Cooking there were Paul Harris, Mike Peterson, Jeff and Woody Hazel and Keith Rowand. Donating food and drink were Blue Ridge Meats, Red Truck Bakery, Barefoot Meadows, Meadow Green Farm, Hedgebrook Farm Market, High on the Hog, Country Cafe, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer, Blue Rock Inn, Corner Store, Flint Hill Public House, Thornton River Grill, Griffin Tavern, Copper Fox Distillery, Port City Brewing Company, Mount Vernon Grassfed, Barboursville Vinyards, Corcoran Vineyards, Tarara Winery, Chester Gap Cellars, Jefferson Vineyards, Sugarleaf Vineyards, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Delaplane Cellars, Linden Vineyards and Pearmund Cellars.
Pantry Day business sponsors included Berry Hill Vineyard, BH&G Real Estate III, Blue Ridge Mac, Gay Street Inn, Hair Gallery, High on the Hog, Narmada Winery, Inn at Little Washington, Rappahannock News, Rappahannock Real Estate, Rappahannock Title, Thomas and Talbot Real Estate, Williams Tree Service and Ana Maria Siccardi.
In addition there were the Friends of the Rappahannock Pantry, who donated $500 or more: Jack and Delma Bagley, Kevin Adams and Jay Brown, Stephen and Mary Bullock, Andrew and Lesley Cockburn, Russ and Mary Collins, Linda and Bill Dietel, Michael Sands and Betsy Dietel, Jeanne Floberg in honor of Mike and Molly Peterson, Beverly and Hal Hunter, Bette and Mike Mahoney, Beverly and John Fox Sullivan, Ken and Mary Thompson, Bill and Sarah Walton, the Town of Washington and the Lunch Bunch.
Almost last but not least, I need to thank those who regularly volunteer at the Pantry but also worked during the day and at the dinner event: Kathy Eggers, Jennifer Green, Daphne Hutchinson, Noel Laing, Laurel Malik (whose husband Marc donated an incredible handmade model boat for the auction) and Carolyn Thornton.
Finally, I especially need to thank Hal Hunter, founder and board member; Mimi Forbes, the Pantry manager; Melissa Harris and the Flavor staff; and the Sullivans for their many hours of hard work. Thank you all.
Rappahannock Pantry Inc.