Busch Gardens donates surplus food to James City neighborhood

Hungry families in the Grove area will be well fed this week thanks to 4,000 pounds of food donated to the neighborhood by Busch Gardens in January.

The theme park donated produce, dairy and packaged food to the Grove Christian Outreach Center, a nonprofit organization that feeds the hungry in the Grove community every week, according to a Busch Gardens press release.

The Grove area, which has a high number of low-income residents, is considered a food desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The nearest grocery store is about six miles away, and about 10 percent of households do not have cars, said Pat McCormick, executive director of the center.

“We share in their joys and their heartaches and their suffering,” McCormick said of neighborhood residents. “They are like family.”

The Grove neighborhood is just south of Busch Gardens. The theme park plans to donate more surplus food to residents as opportunities arise, said Lindsey Mair, a buyer for Busch Gardens’ culinary department and a center volunteer.

“They are our neighbors,” Mair said. “They are in our back yard, and we are happy to be a part of this community.”

Adrienne Mayfield
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