By JESSICA WETZLER
Daily News-Record 7/1/19
VERONA — The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank provides more than 25.3 million pounds of food a year to those in need. On Friday, through a generous donation, the food bank was able to fund 40,000 of those meals.
Patrick Blevins, a State Farm insurance agent covering parts of the Shenandoah Valley, donated $10,000 to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to feed roughly 32,000 individuals each month in the Valley.
“I wanted to give back to the community and to be able to serve the people we work with,” Blevins said. “We always want to give back.”
Founded in 1981, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia, according to a press release. The food bank serves 25 counties and eight cities through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester and Verona.
Each month, the food bank feeds 106,000 people through a network of 200 community partners, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools, churches and other nonprofit groups.
Michael McKee, CEO of Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, said the donation was a “big undertaking.”
“This means a great deal,” McKee said. “It is very important because we really rely on grassroots support. It is really vital in the summer months with someone people relying on meals.”
McKee said the gesture is an example of the impact individuals can make when they support their mission through their workplaces. “We’re grateful for these kinds of contributions,”
McKee said. “Patrick’s gift will help nourish thousands of lives.”
Blevins has worked with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in the past, participating in the food bank’s annual holiday event “Shop to Stop Hunger” in 2016.
Separately, State Farm has been a longtime business supporter of the food bank, donating time and volunteer hours. The Charlottesville Operations Center participates in an annual peanut butter drive, according to the press release.
In June, State Farm employees donated 776 pounds of food as part of their 97th Founder’s Day Celebration.
“We take pride at our State Farm agency in giving back to our community. We love where we live and work and the great people here,” Blevins said. “The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank does an excellent job in providing meals to families in our area. We’ve always felt that no one should go hungry.”