'No one is above the struggle, so don’t be ashamed,' says mother who used Virginia Peninsula Foodbank

Nakisha Jolanda and sons.jpg
Posted at 9:43 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 17:18:23-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – One in seven people on the Peninsula struggle with hunger on a daily basis, according to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.

Nakisha Jolanda is a former client of the food bank. She says she has been homeless twice, and in 2019, she found herself struggling to take care of her three boys amidst a separation.

“The basic thing as a parent that I was supposed to do – you know, feed them, clothe them, on top of loving them - I didn’t want rob them of that,” described Jolanda. “And the food bank was definitely very helpful in aiding to make sure all of us were able to eat a balanced meal.”

The food bank has many programs to help fight hunger, including a mobile food pantry, a backpack program for children and even culinary training.

Click here to participate in our Feed the Need food drive to benefit local food banks.

Sandy Branner says she wouldn’t volunteer multiple times a week if she thought her efforts weren’t helping.

“It’s amazing what gratefulness that people have of the support that the food bank provides for them,” Branner stated.

On any given day during Fiscal Year 2021, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank says 62,000 people found themselves food insecure.

Jolanda says now that she’s in a better place financially, she is advocating to fight hunger.

“As veterans, we want a seat at the table. As mothers, we want a seat at the table, but the catch is, we want something to be on that table,” Jolanda said. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.”

Jolanda says the COVID-19 pandemic proved that anyone can be affected.

“No one is above the struggle. Everyone goes through something, so don’t be ashamed,” she said.

For more information on the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and its services, click here.

Related: Rising food costs hurting food banks in Hampton Roads