ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As food insecurity rises nationwide — some local food banks say they’re in trouble and may have to turn people away. “The Hope Center” — which gives out food twice a week in Roanoke — says they just don’t have enough food to feed everyone in need.
They say with grocery prices sky-rocketing — and snap benefits changing — people are struggling to put food on the table.
Roanoke resident, Tanya Smith, is one Roanoke resident who receives food from The Hope Center. She says they have been a ray of hope in her life.
“These are tears of joy, because I don’t get food stamps, so they helped me, they really did help me,” said Smith.
She tells WFXR news about her first time getting a box from The Hope Center.
“I didn’t know how I was going to feed my kids from day to day and then Ms. Darlene, Grover and his wife they helped me out, and ever since then they’ve been helping me,” said Smith.
With that help — Smith decided to help others — volunteering her time at The Hope Center.
She says she’s really seeing the need — as a lot of people are relying on them to feed their families.
“When you don’t get that much food stamps, the hope center food distribution comes in handy,” said Smith.
Darlene Lewis from The Hope Center says they typically see around 40 people with each distribution– but says recently, they have been struggling to keep up.
“When we pull up with the food on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the line has sometimes wrapped around the building,” said Lewis.
Lewis says they have had to adjust their tactics to try to stretch the food they have.
“A seven-person family would not get the same as a four-person family,” said Lewis.
Assistant Director Donnie Dixon says financial struggles are bringing more people to The Hope Center.
“Now they cut they’re food stamps down to $15-20, when you’ve got six or seven people in your home, that’s not going to feed them,” said Dixon.
However, Dixon says despite more people needing food– there is only so much they’re able to give out.
“By the time that they come up, you know it’s gone,” said Dixon.
So, they’re asking the community to help out.
“We need people to donate, whether it’s finances whether its food, whatever it is, we need more help,” said Lewis.
Dixon adds — their goal is to make sure they never see someone walk out hungry or empty handed. He says it’s something they do everything they can to prevent — but it’s not something they can do alone.