Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry

Photo courtsy Charlottesville Loaves and Fishes 

As the temperature plummets and the holidays approach, staff and volunteers at the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry are working hard to provide food assistance to those in need in the Charlottesville Community. The pantry provides groceries at no cost to low-income families and individuals throughout the area, where as many as 1 in 6 people struggle with hunger.

In Charlottesville and the larger Albemarle county, there is a 17.9% food insecurity rate, according to data released last year by Feeding America. A household is classified as food insecure when access to food is not consistent and dependable. Often, this struggle means choosing between food and paying other expenses like housing, utility, or medical bills.

Loaves & Fishes works to stretch the food budget of low-income households by providing access to free groceries, which are purchased at greatly discounted prices or donated from local food establishments. According to their mission statement, Loaves & Fishes seeks to “give food with kindness and compassion to those seeking assistance while providing an opportunity for volunteers to serve their neighbors in Charlottesville and surrounding communities.”

To this end, Loaves & Fishes partners with a variety of organizations for donations of time, money, and food, including the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the United Way, church groups, and student groups like Madison House here at UVa.

Volunteers at the food bank are relied upon heavily to distribute food to clients. They check people in at the door, pack bags of food, restock the pantry, and work in a variety of other capacities that allow them to interact extensively with members of the community.

For Cassandra Plemons, a first year student, the opportunity to work closely with Loaves & Fishes through Madison House has been an amazing and interactive experience.

“I have loved meeting all new people in the community of Charlottesville and UVa,” says Plemons. “Everyone is so kind and thankful and always smiling. I truly appreciate Madison House for setting this group up and hope others take the opportunity to give back to this amazing community.”

Melanie Weiskopf, a program director for Loaves & Fishes, shared similar sentiments about the importance of volunteering with a food bank, particularly during the holidays.

“They’ll get a chance to work directly with Charlottesville families-in-need and provide them with food as well as the kindness and compassion that makes it such a rewarding program.”

For more information about Loaves & Fishes and its volunteer opportunities, please visit their website at


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