FLOYD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR)– “Neighbors growing, and sharing food in Floyd County.”
That’s the motto Plenty! Farm & Food Bank lives by as fresh and nutritional food is getting harder to obtain, with the growing economic woes and other roadblocks.
Executive Director of Plenty!, Nancy Tome explains Plenty started out as a grassroots effort where neighbors came out to help their neighbors.
“What we do is we run food pantry services and we also try to provide the health of a community member through our program,” said Tome.
She explains 70 percent of people in the community have some sort of diet-related condition, and in Floyd, that is concerning because it is a food desert.
“Per square mile, there is a very low percentage of outlets available to acquire food,” said Tome.
Tome believes food pantries are important if residents are unable to drive, have limited mobility, or can’t afford food.
Since October 2022, plenty’s growing need for people requesting food has increased by 40 percent. Ten percent of Floyd County’s approximately 15,700 residents have relied on the Plenty! Foodbank last year, including working families and people who live on fixed incomes.
So, what does Plenty! offer?
“We are full service, we operate a drive-thru pantry 3 days a week, and we do delivery almost every day of the week,” said Tome.
At Plenty!, you can receive dairy, meats, protein, and bakery items, but that just scratches the surface.
Last week, the food bank received a massive 38,360-pound donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints they are able to meet more needs.
“Plenty! and the community here locally can be served through that blessing,” said Helen McClain, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Plenty!
She says the food bank put in a request, to get whatever donation they can from the national church in Salt Lake City. Then, the bishop decided he wanted to give Plenty! a bigger donation.
“We have everything from butter and cheese to canned fruits, flour, pasta beef stew. Lots and lots of food were donated,” said McClain.
When it comes to volunteers they have plenty.
“It takes about 78 volunteers a week to do the work that we do,” said Tome.
They also are in partnership with Virginia Tech, the public school systems, religious groups, churches, and Radford University to help with food pick-up, farm work, and more.
They also invest in the youth of the community and participate in the Radford Universities intern program. Then, Virginia Tech they are involved with its agriculture and health sciences department.
Tome says work like this is being done all over Floyd County, and in their schools.
Then, when it comes to the local school’s programs like Healthy Floyd, who goes into the schools to introduce the youth to fruits and vegetables.
The goal is to implement nutrition and wellness education, improve access to healthy foods, increase opportunities for physical activity, and raise public awareness in our schools and the wider community.
However, Plenty! is not the only one lending a helping hand.
“I have 15 customers who come every week to pick up eggs,” said Red Rae Lee, Co-Owner of R & G Farms.
Lee believes the lack of food options puts a damper on a child’s nutrition.
“Families can’t even afford it and young children if they don’t have the right amount of protein will stunt their growth,” said Lee.
This is why at their farm you can purchase duck, chicken, turkey, or quail eggs. Even baby chicks.
Lee says they also have families in need to whom they donate eggs for free.
“It is a really warm feeling to know that you’ve done something good. It’s the way you are brought up and your moral upbringing,” said Lee.
Although, this farm is not just about business. It is also a time for fun and play! Lee and her husband say anyone is welcome on the farm to say hello to all their beautiful mini horses, large horses, peacocks, bunnies, ducks, and more!