NRV trash pickup company partners with food pantry

New River Valley News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Agape Center NRV is getting a big show of support from one of the local trash pickup companies.

Meridian Waste has been serving the NRV community for a few years, now. Recently, they wanted to do more than just pick up trash; they wanted to give back, as well.

“…and show that we are the true local partner, that we are here,” said GM of the Blue Ridge Chapter of Meridian Waste, Ashley Garnes. “We’re in your area. We’re living, we’re working, and we’re playing right next to you as our neighbors.”

After several weeks of brainstorming, the campaign “Fill the 40 – 40 Yards to Feed the Community” came to life.

It’s a food drive, where the donations are weighed and compared to the hauling capacity for a 40 yard dumpster, which is around 23,000 pounds. They won’t actually put the donations in the dumpster; it’s more of a metaphoric “fill” the 40.

It’s still a fresh twist to the classic food drive, nonetheless, according to Garnes.

“We’re playing on what our strengths are,” she said. “It’s what we do; we do it well.”

This drive couldn’t have come at a better time, according to Director of Agape Center NRV Kim Bowman.

“Pre-COVID, we were serving about 340 people a month, and we’re currently serving between 925 and 1,000 people a month,” Bowman said.

Agape NRV’s donations have also been down, forcing the pantry to purchase a lot of their food. Meridian’s partnership, as well as volunteers from Virginia Tech students, has been a blessing for Agape.

“Fill the 40” has collected 4,000 pounds of food, so far. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard to reach the goal of 23,000, with food drives being almost nonexistent, but Bowman says everything helps.

“It will go a long way to feed a lot of people,” she said.

Unfortunately, other area food pantries have made the difficult decision to temporarily close, according to Bowman, but Agape has been fortunate to have partners like Meridian and others to keep their doors open.

“As you can see, everywhere you look, there’s food, and we’ve had plenty to serve every customer,” Bowman said. “Nobody has went without.”

“It’s something we want to do every year,” Garnes said, already looking to next year’s campaign, in hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will be over by then. “This will kind of be our forever partner, if you will, here in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and the New River Valley.”

“Fill the 40” officially ends Monday, Nov. 30.

Right now, the Agape Center NRV is looking for season food donations, such as holiday meats, stuffing, and sweet potatoes.

These are donation sites where you can drop off your donation:

  • Meridian Waste — Blue Ridge Hauling & MRF
    Drop site: Main Office Lobby
    205 Scattergood Drive NW, Christiansburg
    Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • New River Valley Community Church
    2455 Peppers Ferry Road, Christiansburg
    Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Victory Restoration Center
    190 Bishops Gate Road, Christiansburg
    Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon
  • Dwelling Place
    3325 N. Franklin Street, Christiansburg
    Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Heritage House
    772 Davis Street, Blacksburg
    Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you go to any of the donation spots, simply state it’s for the “Fill the 40” campaign, and you’ll be contributing to their goal.

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