BRAFB working towards a healthier community through long-term plans

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - NBC29 is teaming up with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to lend a hand to help fight hunger.

All week, we’re gathering donations and showing how you can make a difference.

“This has really shifted from an organization that’s serving people largely in poverty, who are not working, to one that is serving a much more diverse set of neighbors,” BRAFB CEO Michael McKee said.

McKee has been with the food bank since 2009, back when it served around 70,000 each month. During the coronavirus pandemic, it went up to 148,000.

“People had no choice but to seek assistance. We really work hard to take any stigma out of the equation,” McKee said.

BRAFB says it usually sees around 118,000 each month, but it is preparing to serve more.

“You can think of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank as a nonprofit, and we are, but we’re operating a big supply chain organization. We source food from all over the country,” McKee said.

The CEO says 80% of the food distributed still comes from donors. BRAFB wants to push for more nutritious donations this year.

“When you really think about food insecurity in this country, we’re talking about nutrition insecurity, people who don’t have access to the right kind of food to support good health,” McKee said.

The goal is to have a healthier community.

“We have new food pantries - we call them food pharmacies - in clinical settings in partnership with UVA, Augusta Health and other health care organizations. So it’s a really strong focus for us in order for us to really contribute to the long-term well being of those we serve, not just meet their needs today,” McKee said.

McKee says he knows more people need the help.

“People who are working hard but not able to make ends meet, that’s 60% of the households we serve. That’s huge,” he said.

If you want to donate to the summer fund drive this week, you can go to NBC29 Summer Fund Drive (

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