Food pantry in need of community help as food supplies decrease, demand rises

Posted at 9:47 PM, Apr 09, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Your local food pantry is there to help provide the community with food, but the food pantry at Coastal Community Church in Virginia Beach is reaching out for help.

"Usually our storage area back there is full," Jacqui Langlois-Bereb, the pantry coordinator, said.

The shelves behind her were barren, some with just two cans of food. A freezer near the exit was empty.

"I didn't even realize that was true," Donna Brooks, a church member and the pastor's wife, said as she looked through.

The shortage is something they said they have not seen before. They blame the coronavirus pandemic for the shortage.

"There's a lot more people in need right now with the jobs being limited and all," Langlois-Bereb said. "Unfortunately, our need is greater at the same that our supply is down."

She said the pantry normally helps between 40 to 60 families, but that number has grown as people have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. They said the project the numbers to grow more as their supplies dwindle.

Related: Food banks seeing surge from people in need during coronavirus outbreak

"It's just sad that we can't reach out and help as many people possible," Langlois-Bereb said. "We don't want to turn anybody away."

More of the church members are coming forward to help. They shared their plea on social media, stating the pantry needs help with donations. Much of the pantry's food comes from not only donations, but from the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

"Our thought was, 'We don't know how we're going to do it, but we'll help you get food so that you can have then distribution for the families that are coming,'" Brooks said.

The shelves usually have items such as canned fruits, vegetables, soups, purees, grains, pasta and peanut butter, among other items. These are some of the items the pantry needs to replenish.

"Other people have less than you sometimes and not to have a scarcity mentality," Brooks said. "If you have two peanut butters at home, donate one."

Langlois-Bereb said, "When we're the one in need, we hope someone will reach out for us."

The church came up with ideas to help replenish the pantry. The church will host a donation drive-through where donors can drop off food items near the pantry's main entrance. The drive-through is Friday, April 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and again on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Coastal Community Church is located 2800 S. Independence Blvd. in Virginia Beach.

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