How you can help this Hunger Action Month

VERONA, Va. (WHSV) -- September is Hunger Action Month, and here in the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB) is partnering with Feeding America to mobilize the public to take action against hunger in their communities.

This year's theme is "Feeding Their Potential," which highlights the potential for every person to thrive when they have access to enough nutritious food. The campaign also offers ways for people to get involved with local programs.

---SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN---

Hunger advocates can spread awareness among their Facebook and Twitter followers by wearing or displaying orange, the color of hunger awareness. They can also share selfies or photos holding paper plates that state the impact of an empty stomach and what they can do to solve hunger. Remember to tag @BRAFB, and use the hashtags #HungerActionMonth and #GoOrange.

You can see examples of such photos in the photo gallery at the bottom of this article.

---EVENTS IN OUR AREA TO SUPPORT HUNGER RELIEF---

SEPT. 1• Elected Officials Volunteer Day - Local and regional elected officials have been invited to participate in a day of volunteering alongside colleagues, friends, community volunteers and food bank staff on Sept. 1 at our Charlottesville, Winchester, Lynchburg and Verona branches.

SEPT. 2 • Fridays for Food - During Fridays After Five, a Charlottesville concert tradition, patrons are asked to stop by the Sprint & Food Bank booth and make a donation the first Friday of each month through September. This will be the last Fridays For Food event of the concert season. Each month, Sprint kicks off the efforts with a $500 donation.

SEPT. 8 • Hunger Action Day - The Food Bank will support the efforts of Feeding America on Sept. 8, by promoting their day-long media event on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. A coalition of anti-hunger organizations will wear orange (the color of hunger) and gather to spread awareness of hunger issues. Show your support by “going orange” for the day.

SEPT. 13-16 • Up on the Roof - Harrisonburg Radio Group and King Photo are teaming up to raise money for the Food Bank. For three days radio personalities will broadcast from the roof of the King Photo building and ask Harrisonburg listeners for donations. When they reach financial goals for a particular window of time they will be allowed to come down from the roof for food and restroom breaks.

SEPT. 14 • United Way Day of Caring - Join a United Way Day of Caring team in Winchester and put your hands and hearts to use for a Food Bank service project.

SEPT. 16 • Stuff A Truck - Help the Food Bank fill trucks with food for neighbors in need. The one-day food drive will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at one of four grocery stores — Martin’s in Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro — and Giant Foods in Charlottesville. The drive is held in partnership with WHSV, iHeart Radio, Monticello Media and the Charlottesville Newsplex.

SEPT. 21 • United Way Day of Caring - Join a United Way Day of Caring team in Charlottesville and put your hands and hearts to use for a Food Bank service project.

SEPT. 23-25 • Misty Mountain Music Festival - The 6th Annual Misty Mountain Music Festival showcases original bands alongside local businesses and artisans. This three-day festival will accept donations for the Food Bank at the entrance to the Misty Mountain Campground in Greenwood, VA.

---MORE INFO ON EVENTS IN YOUR AREA---

For information about Hunger Action Month activities in your area, please call Abena Foreman-Trice at 540-213-8405 or Maria Longley at 540-213-8425.

---FOOD BANK GOALS---

This year, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is aiming to collect 35,000 MEALS (not pounds) in honor of BRAFB’s 35th anniversary. Just $1 is equal to four meals! Last year, they collected about 16,000 pounds of food and $30,000 in funds. They also have a “virtual food drive” online.

---WHAT TO DONATE---

If you're on a computer, you can find a column to the right side of this page with a list of the most needed items at the BRAFB. If you're on a cell phone or tablet, you can find that list if you scroll down to the bottom of this page.

---FACTS ABOUT THE BLUE RIDGE AREA FOOD BANK---

• The Blue Ridge Area Food Banks serves 25 counties and 8 cities on either side of the Blue Ridge
• The BRAFB has distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester, and a headquarters in Verona
• The food bank provides nutritious food to 114,4000 people each month
• BRAFB has 215 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, churches,and nonprofit groups
• BRAFB is a member of Feeding America, which supports more than 200 food banks across the country and is the larges domestic hunger relief agency in the U.S.
• The food bank was established in 1981
• The BRAFB serves 7530 children each month through after school programs
• Programs include a mobile food pantry which delivers healthy food to rural communities, family backpack program which helps feed students and their families, and reach program which serves seniors and people with disabilities
• The food bank distributed 24.8 million pounds, or 20.6 million meals, last year

---FACTS ABOUT HUNGER IN OUR AREA---

• 11.9% of Virginians struggle with hunger. 143,000 or 10%, live in the Blue Ridge area.
• 1 out of every 6 children—or 53,690 children in our service area—struggles with hunger. In Virginia, 16.8% of children are food insecure.
• Among all BRAFB clients, 29% are children under the age of 18.
• Seniors, more than any other group, are relying with increasing frequency on charitable food assistance.
• $1 through the BRAFB helps provide 4 meals

---LEARN MORE---

You can learn more about Hunger Action Month, as well as more about the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and hunger in our area, by following the links in the 'Related Links' section of this article.