Community involvement making a difference with BRAFB, donations still needed

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There are multiple ways to get involved with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank besides just volunteering or donating food.

BRFB Director of Development and Community Engagement Millie Winstead says even just one person’s idea can make all the difference. That’s one of the ideas NBC29 is promoting this week through our Summer Fund Drive-- one person can make an impact.

Ed Kwasnick’s “Green Bean Bike Challenge” is one of multiple ongoing community driven opportunities to support the BRAFB.

“The food bank ultimately said, ‘Hey, we need green beans, we’re going into the holiday season,’ and we said, ‘Great, we’ll donate green beans.’ So, we reached out to friends and family and said, ‘Hey, we’re riding 106 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing, and we’d like you to donate green beans to support us,’” Kwasnick said.

The 100-mile bike ride generated 3500 cans of green beans in its first year. Since then, 415,285 meals have been provided, 1,027 miles have been biked, including 104,615 feet of elevation.

“They want to challenge themselves to also give back to the community, and that is exactly what they’ve done through that bike ride,” Winstead said.

“It was really two of us saying, ‘Hey, how can we push ourselves?’ Then, as soon as we determined what were were doing, we asked if this was going to push us beyond our limits, and then, we wondered, ‘What can we do? How can we turn that into something for our local community?’” Kwasnick said.

Now, 11 years later, the event now takes monetary donations for the BRAFB instead of cans. $99,521 have been raised.

“For every dollar, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank can put four meals on the table and for a dollar, and I can barely buy one can of green beans with that,” Kwasnick said.

Winstead says that there is always a way to help the food bank, and that Ed Kwasnick is a living example of that.

“One person with an idea and some passion, they can take that and they can make it into something that gives back to the community in a variety of ways,” Winstead said. “I hope that no one would consider that just because they’re one person, that they can’t make a difference. It’s all about someone stepping up and making an impact through a way that is meaningful to them.”

If you want to get involved this week, you can donate to NBC29′s Summer Fund Drive with the BRAFB.

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