Community discusses food security in the Shenandoah Valley

The bags of food had fresh produce in them.

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Building Bridges for The Greater Good held Table of Plenty — a discussion about food security — on Saturday afternoon.

"It really became apparent that there's a lack of knowledge of the struggles that people in our community are facing," said Christina Harris, the group's secretary.

Harris and Pastor Elaine Rose, president of Building Bridges, said they were motivated by stats from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and the Virginia ALICE Study that show the struggles the community faces.

Among those stats — 16 percent of Staunton's population earns less than the poverty level.

"We each, in our own individual areas of where we work at, experience hunger," Rose said. "Especially being a pastor, I see hunger in this community with small children, senior citizens and homeless."

Building Bridges brought together organizations who work on the front lines of battling hunger. The point of the talk was to consider what more can be done to help those in need.

Pastor Rose said the issue has multiple problems in it.

"The reason is shame. The reason might be transportation," Rose said. "The reason might be they feel somebody at the food pantry, they'll know them. And they don't want people to know."

At the end of the discussion, Building Bridges, with the help of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Project Grows and Allegheny Mountain Institute, handed out 155 bags of food for people to take with them and give to those in need.