With food security organizations facing higher demand during the ongoing pandemic, Millstone Kitchen has connected them with caterers to provide fresh meals to at-risk community members.
In April, after the onset of COVID-19, Millstone Kitchen launched the Neighbors in Need program to address food insecurity, particularly amongst those community members with limited resources or mobility. The program also has the goal of supporting caterers who were hit hard by the economic impacts of the pandemic and the cancelling of events for the rest of the year. The donation-fueled program grew to serve hundreds of individuals and families.
Now, the program has received grant funding to expand even further. Two catering businesses, HazelBea Catering and On Site Culinary, are cooking fresh, healthy meals each week and packaging them on site at Millstone Kitchen. From there, various distributing partners deliver meals to between 400-500 people in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Pulaski, Fairlawn, Floyd and Newport.
The current partners: Agency on Aging, Future Economy Collective, Newport Community Center, Christiansburg Parks and Recreation, Warm Hearth Village and NRV Diaper Pantry, have mobilized staff to make these meal deliveries happen. “Many of these individuals are making hard tradeoffs between food and medication for instance. Having an extra meal prepared for them makes them feel really special,” shared Shannon Hammons from the Agency on Aging. The program will continue to grow and plans are already being made to serve an additional 200 individuals weekly by September.
Live Work Eat Gather Inc., the non-profit which supports Millstone Kitchen, in cooperation with Montgomery County, received a Community Development Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. This grant is designed to support organizations responding to urgent needs arising from COVID-19. These grant funds, in addition to funding from the Town of Blacksburg, will support provision of meals to these vulnerable populations through the remainder of the year.