Lending a Helping Hand
Emily Yinger, Guest Writer~
Heather MacNeil, Guest Writer~
Park View Community Mission is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to offer food services to financially insecure Lynchburg families through their Food for Families program.
The program serves roughly 700 families monthly by providing food options that differ from traditional canned food drives and soup kitchens.
“We try to meet all the needs of our neighbors [clients] and we are able to do this because we have so many different resources in one place,” said assistant director of Food for Families Rachel Koenig.
One resource provided by the Food for Families program is the neighbor-choice pantry offered to needy families who are unable to purchase their own weekly groceries due to poverty or other financial difficulties.
Park View Community Mission clientele, also referred to as “neighbors,” are able to shop at the pantry for food, clothing and hygiene items for free on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. or Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
According to the Park View Community Mission website, some of the specific food items neighbors can obtain from the pantry include, “produce, frozen meats, baked goods, dairy products, eggs and much more.”
Another food option offered to the public are Park View Community Mission’s free Wednesday-night dinners. Neighbors, local community members and Park View Community Mission volunteers are all welcome to gather Wednesday at 5 p.m. for a weekly dinner where a home-cooked meal is prepared and served by local partnerships.
“Our Wednesday-night meals are open to anyone. We usually have 100 individuals participate every week,” said Koenig.
According to Koenig, volunteers are part of what makes the Food for Families program and Park View Community Mission’s other areas of service operational. She said that roughly 55 volunteers show up every week to help with food distribution to the neighbors.
“It also feels good to see that although a lot of Lynchburg is food insecure, I can help hopefully fix that problem,” said Park View Community Mission volunteer Alexa Tarallo.
Several Lynchburg College organizations including Phi Kappa Tau and the Bonner Leader Program participate as volunteers at Park View Community Mission’s Food for Families program on a weekly basis. They say their service at places like Park View Community Mission mirror the values they maintain in helping the community through their organizations.
“Our organization values our community and wishes to give back; we thought the best way to give back is to those who need food,” said Phi Kappa Tau’s community service chairman, Devyn McCabe.