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Virginia Beach woman's 'The Pantry Box' project gives front line workers a boost

Posted at 8:34 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 20:34:57-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Pam Blais worked as an ER nurse for 18 years, and her heart goes out to those still on the front lines, especially now during the pandemic.

“I get calls from my friends on the front lines who are telling me these stories of painful experiences, PTSD that’s happening in that community.”

She recalls the long hours and stress.

"Just knowing what it's like working on the front lines, being exhausted and needing something to lift you up, and so I thought, 'Let's send food,'" she said.

So, back in March, she started The Pantry Box, delivering boxes of goodies to area emergency departments, including the Nightingale helicopter crew!

“We’re filling boxes and taking them to the front lines. I’ve got people paying it forward from different organizations - churches and rescue squads - that are filling boxes, too.”

We caught up with Pam right before she made a haul to Sentara Norfolk General’s ER. Her friends and family also showed up to help us surprise her with a News 3 People Taking Action award.

Related: People Taking Action: Local woman completes 40-hour run for orphanage

“I’m just so proud of her, and I just admire her so much for everything that she’s doing and encouraging us to get involved.”

“She is the most considerate person, especially during the past couple of months. I’ve been seeing her passion come alive every day, and it's been very motivating for me and everyone in our household.”

Speaking of giving back, our community partner, Southern Bank, also gave her a $300 Visa gift card.

She says money from the gift card will go toward buying more supplies for the front line heroes in our community.

“I want them to know to have hope - that we’re here; that the community is here to support them," she said.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.