WAYNESBORO — Some morning rain was replaced by sunshine as community members gathered Saturday for the ribbon cutting and grand opening of The River City Bread Basket, a customer-selectable food pantry. Although based in Waynesboro – located at 505 N. Winchester Avenue – River City will serve the communities of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County.
“We put out a call and the village showed up,” Adrienne Young, executive director of the LIFEworks Project, the organization behind The River City Bread Basket, told attendees at the ribbon cutting. “I want you to know that you are a part of this.
The pantry will be stocked with nutritional essentials provided by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Feeding America partners Walmart and Food Lion. The mission is to ensure that no one in the community goes to bed hungry.
Shelves were stocked on Saturday with canned vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, beverages, bread and hygiene projects, just to start.
It will be open for now on Thursday: 16:30 – 19:00; Friday: 10 am – 2 pm; and the first and third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m
River City Bread Basket is a welcoming and inclusive space for all. While there are no barriers to entry, some items will be available exclusively to those eligible for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAO).
Young said the location was chosen because many in the neighborhood are underserved when it comes to grocery stores. Many, Young said, walk, some push strollers, long distances to get food.
“We want to give them an option where they can get healthy food that’s provided by the community because we love and care and know what the community looks like,” Young said. “When you look around at all these faces, these different ages, these different people, this is what a community looks like.”
LIFEworks hopes to grow more foods like the River City Bread Basket throughout the area.
“Putting aside our petty differences, at the end of the day everybody needs help, everybody needs resources,” said AJ Young, co-founder of LIFEworks. “If you’ve never needed resources, keep living because in some way, shape, or form, things tend to knock on your door.”
Young said he and his wife, Adrienne, looked at each other — he said over Thanksgiving weekend — and said what a lot of people say — somebody should do something. He then jokingly told her that they should start a non-profit.
“I was laughing,” AJ Young said. “But she wasn’t. So I feel like if we look around and say somebody should do this, the person in the mirror is you, it’s us. We’re a community.”
The River City Bread Basket is made possible by grants from organizations within the community. Organizers acknowledged the support of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Ntelos/Lumos, the City of Waynesboro Community Development Block Grant and the Blue Ridge Community Foundation.
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— Patrick Hite is a reporter for The News Leader. Story ideas and tips are always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/his/his) at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Subscribe at newsleader.com.