Volunteer Farm Needs Help to Continue Feeding One Third of Virginia's Hungry

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

WOODSTOCK, Va. -- Bob Blair started a volunteer farm about eight years ago and now, dozens of acres of farmland are used to feed the hungry. Blair said the farm is completely run by volunteers and donations.

Now, the farm's future is uncertain due to a tough economic situation.

"Revenue has been going down steadily over the last four years because of the recession,” said Blair, “The issue is how do we continue running next year with less money, feeding more people?"

Blair said they are trying to maintain the farm, but without donations and volunteers, they may have to close the farm. That means they may not be able to help the 150,000 people they currently help every month.

Along with feeding the hungry, Richard Reed, the farm's manager said this has been a good way to teach young people about volunteering.

"The majority of our volunteers are underage, or under 18 years old and they learn to serve others by coming here,” said Reed, “It's not just we grow good food, we help teach them and mentor them to become lifelong volunteers."

Those are volunteers that help feed a third of Virginia from the farm.

Blair said they send their fruits and vegetables to food pantries across the state to help those in need. Without their farm, he said those families will rely more on canned goods, which is something that is not always healthy.

"Well if you're getting a lot of your food from canned goods, your body would tell you very quickly that you'd need some fresh vegetables," said Blair.

That fresh produce can be expensive and that was why Blair hoped they will find a way to keep the farm going to help the hungry.

Blair said this year alone, the volunteer farm donated 82.5 tons of food to the hungry; that's more than 180,000 pounds.

If you'd like to help the farm, go to www.VolunteerFarm.org

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