Food bank aims to help after Family Dollar fire leaves residents in food desert

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After one of the only nearby food sources in the St. Paul area burns down, a Norfolk food bank steps in to provide basic food supplies.

NORFOLK, Va. – After one of the only nearby food sources in the St. Paul area burns down, the Southeast Food Bank steps in to provide basic food supplies.

It’s been just over a week since Norfolk firefighters battled the flames inside the Family Dollar on Church Street, leaving residents of the St. Paul area in a food desert.

“We have nowhere to go. It’s bad. We need all the help we can get,” Ricky Skinner told 13News Now the day after the fire.

RELATED: ‘We have nowhere to go’ | Neighbors respond to Family Dollar fire in Norfolk

To help, the food bank is stepping in with a food drive on Church Street, in the same mall as the Family Dollar. It’s happening this Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

“The food bank is pleased to partner with the city in an attempt to help,” said Emma Inman, impact manager for the southeast food bank.

She said when the Family Dollar burned down it left a big hole in that community.

RELATED: 2-alarm fire breaks out at Family Dollar in Norfolk

“Not having access to a sustainable source of fresh, healthy and nutritious food for this community is concerning,” she said. “But on top of that, the challenges…the security challenges, the transportation challenges, it all makes for a perfect storm.”

Inman said they were ready to donate around 500 boxes with 35 pounds of food on Friday – one per household.

Non-perishable items like peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, and beans come in the USDA box. The food bank will supplement this with fresh produce and protein.

To get a box, all you have to do is answer a few non-invasive income questions.

“Our goal at the food bank is to help people get food that needs it. If you are someone who struggles to put food on your table for your children, please come,” Inman said.

Once again, the food drive is this Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at 720 Church Street.

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