Drive-thru food giveaway in Newport News supports hospitality, tourism employees impacted by pandemic

Volunteers Loading Food at the NNHA food pantry.jpg
Posted at 6:26 AM, Dec 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-27 06:27:02-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A drive-thru food giveaway for hospitality and tourism employees, held by the Newport News Hospitality Association in partnership with the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, provided food packages for 150 families in the Newport News area.

Hospitality and tourism employees have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Liz Parker, president of the Newport News Hospitality Association, explained.

“Restaurants are only able to seat up to 50% capacity; we went from social gatherings of 250 just a few weeks ago to only 10 people now; hours of operation have been diminished in our restaurants and bars; and our attractions are unable to open completely,” Parker, who also manages the Holiday Inn Newport News/Hampton, said.

Parker drew up a list of hospitality association employees who had suffered financial impacts from the pandemic, and a dozen volunteers from the NNHA were able to assist the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank in setting up the food pantry outside of Parker’s hotel.

Each family received a frozen whole chicken, along with three boxes of dry goods like dairy products, fruits, vegetables and grains. A total of 450 boxes of food and 150 frozen chickens were distributed.

“We saw so many housekeepers, maintenance team members, servers, front-desk and museum associates,” Parker said. “All were so thankful and appreciative.”

After the success of the first drive-thru, another giveaway was held by the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association in Downtown Richmond December 22.