When you walk through the warehouses at Feeding America Southwest Virginia in Salem and Abingdon, you must watch your step. All around you there are pallets piled high with boxes of food, and fork lifts moving swiftly back and forth from trucks to racks and back again.

Or at least, that’s how it usually is. While the shape of the charitable food landscape has been changing for some time, the drop in food donations this year surprised even the food bank’s most seasoned veterans.

“It’s a huge concern,” says Pamela Irvine, FASWVA president and CEO. “We’re doing everything we can to find innovative ways to bring in more food, better food for our clients. But this enormous drop in food donations really, really hurts.”

During Hunger Action Month in September, a local television reporter visiting the Salem Distribution Center for an event noticed the bare shelves and did a story on the food bank’s challenges.

In September 2017, the food bank was down 50% in food donations over the previous year. That’s 400,000 pounds of food less than the food bank had during that same month in 2016.

That’s more than 330,000 meals that the food bank wasn’t able to provide to Southwest Virginia’s hungry.

When disasters strike across our nation, we give generously to help those facing some of the most desperate times of their lives. And while floods, flames and fury capture our attention on national media, the insidious menace of hunger is also ravaging families right here at home. Every day is a crisis for someone right here in our community even though it may not grab headlines.

Your Southwest Virginia neighbors need you — today. Contact us at 540.342.3011 to learn more about how you can change the lives of local families in need.