Local food overcomes heater issues; still delivers hundreds of boxes of food

Southwest Virginia food pantry battles bitter cold to feed hundreds of families

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}Jan. 4 was distribution day for the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Chilhowie, Virginia, but Mother Nature almost forced a change of plans. They usually box up all the food the night before they hand it out, but the heater ran out of gas Wednesday night.CHILHOWIE, Va. -

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}"It was too cold in here for the church members and the kids to do the boxes," April Marshall, the warehouse director, says.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}Chuck Harrell is on the food pantry's board, and says they considered shutting down because it was so cold inside and some volunteers couldn't make it. After finding out there was a chance they could get the heat back on overnight, he says the board knew what they had to do.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"} "We decided on such a bad day, people needed food and we were going to do it," Harrell, a local pastor, says. "So we came over this morning to see if we could get everything going and it worked out."

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}All types of community members volunteer for this type of project. On Thursday, the Chilhowie basketball and wrestling teams came out to lend a hand.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}"They're willing to come out here and suffer through this cold, it shows a volunteer heart," Harrell says. "We appreciate it. This place wouldn't work without the volunteers."

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}All the volunteers doing their part on the assembly line, packing boxes to the brim for 400 families in need.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}"It's good because there are a lot of people out there that need food and it just helps them a little bit until I get there income or their checks," Marshall says.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}The Finley's are one of the families that receive food, and they say it makes a big difference.

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}"They are out here in hot weather, cold weather, even in this frigid weather," Dina Finley says. "It's a wonderful place to come and get help."

{p style="margin-right:0in; margin-left:0in"}The pantry is always looking for extra volunteers. If you'd like to lend a hand, give them a call at 276-646-9939.

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