Toano Business Center opens up warehouse space for food donations

Staff writer

Toano Business Center has the space, and Virginia Peninsula Food Bank has the need. So the two organizations joined forces to establish a food donation collection site at the former to benefit the latter.

Starting Friday, Toano Business Center will open its warehouse to people looking to spread a little holiday cheer through food donations.

The 4,000-square-foot warehouse is empty, so Toano Business Center operators thought it could be useful as a drop-off point for food donations, administrator Kay Gribble said.

“It won’t have anything in it soon, so we’re going to open it up for the public,” Gribble said.

Virginia Peninsula Food Bank serves Williamsburg, James City, York and other localities in the region, including Newport News and Gloucester.

The warehouse will have large boxes stacked on pallets to hold donations. People can swing by with their donations of canned or boxed food 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 21, Gribble said. The warehouse will be open seven days a week.

The idea is the warehouse, which will have signs in place to direct visitors, will serve as a collection center for nearby schools, churches, local businesses and private individuals who want to donate food to the needy during the holiday season, Gribble said, adding trucks will come by several times a week to pick up food so it can be distributed.

Since there won’t be refrigeration, donations must be canned or boxed goods, Gribble said.

The partnership is the first time the groups have worked together to create a food collection point for Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, which was contacted by Gribble on behalf of the center’s owner, John Sawin, Virginia Peninsula Food Bank spokeswoman Donna Tighe said.

“We are excited about this opportunity to help those in the community who live in food insecure homes, especially at this special time of the year,” Tighe wrote in an email. She noted that 1 in 7 people in the greater Peninsula region live in food-insecure homes, and those people range from children to veterans and seniors.

“Families are having to make difficult choices between purchasing food or paying rent or utilities,” she wrote.

Tighe suggested canned meats, peanut butter, instant potatoes, family-size rice boxes, pastas, canned vegetables and hearty soups as just some of the items people could donate.

“We appreciate the creativity and kindness from our community when it comes to giving back. They are taking advantage of empty space to help fill empty bellies,” Tighe wrote.

Want to help?

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 30 to Dec. 21.

Where: Toano Business Center, 8105 Richmond Road.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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