Supporting Neighbors in Need during Covid-19

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Millstone Kitchen
Millstone Kitchen

COVID-19 has caused farmers and caterers to change how they continue to support the community.

Millstone Kitchen, a Blacksburg non-profit organization, is teaming up with them to provide farm fresh meals for everyone.

The non-profit and HazelBea Catering launched a program to put fresh meals on the tables of neighbors in need. Through a $10 donation, that money also supports the culinary loop to keep the meals flowing.

“This is an opportunity to meet a hunger need,” said catering chef Rachel Doyle. “I just think it’s a great opportunity to stretch our wings a little bit, to stretch our reach to be able to provide healthy, delicious food, to people we might not have been able to reach before.”

Doyle said in a matter of two days, she had 17 catered events cancelled.

“We’ve had to really think outside the box to keep the doors open,” she said.

But this new partnership helps to connect her business, families in need of food and local farmers.

“We see our colleagues struggling and it’s kind of a mutual relationship,” said Amy Tanner of Pear Tree Hill Farm in Pulaski County. “We’re trying to keep them in supply of fresh, good produce so they can keep doing their creative projects and feeding the community.”

Tanner said she’s been working to develop a website to make it easier for customers to access their produce, but this new program helps, too.

“Mother Nature dictates our schedule, and so we’re proceeding forward with our production plan and in fact, we’re going to try to grow more to meet everyone’s needs,” she said.

“This is what we best determined the way we could help,” said Millstone’s kitchen manager Jessica Schultz. “We have neighbors in need and we need to be there for them, too.”

Schultz has been helping to coordinate the efforts across the New River Valley. She said the idea sparked when she saw what Red Rooster was doing to help donate meals in Floyd.

On Wednesday, the first batch of 110 meals will go out for delivery. They will be distributed through NRV Diaper Pantry and Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread.

For each $10 donation, nine of that goes right back to making the meal, paying the local farmers and chefs who make them. The last dollar goes toward the PayPal account and keeping the lights on at Millstone.

“For us to be able to have a vehicle to bring the farm directly to someone is a wonderful opportunity and we’re grateful to do that,” Doyle said.

Neighbors in Need only has enough funding through the end of April. They are continuing to look for partners to keep providing fresh, local food to people in need.

If you’re interested in donating or participating in the program, click below.