HAMPTON, Va. - The 24th annual Mayflower Marathon began Friday, helping make sure families in Hampton Roads are able to have a turkey on the table this Thanksgiving.
The annual event collects food and money for local food banks like the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. Four locations are collecting through the weekend, some around the clock.
Food banks are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Demand is up, with a lot of new faces needing help, and donations are down 20 percent.
"We need turkeys. We're hoping to get at least 600 turkeys, like we did last year," said Karen Joyner, CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. "I'd also kinda like some of the traditional food we haven't been getting. I received a call from a local police department wanting to provide food baskets for certain individuals, and I came back in the warehouse and we didn't have any traditional Thanksgiving food. No cranberry sauce, no stuffing, very limited canned goods."
The food banks will also take monetary donations to turn around and buy food, generally at a lower cost than the average consumer. Mayflower Marathon accepts cash and credit card donations.
The four locations collecting for the marathon are:
- Kroger, Mercury Boulevard, Hampton (24 hours)
- Pembroke Mall, Virginia Beach (24 hours)
- Kroger, Victory Boulevard, Yorktown (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Kroger Marketplace, University Boulevard, Suffolk (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)