It could not have happened at a better time.
That’s what Jennifer Montgomery, executive director of Loudoun Interfaith Relief, said when she got the call that Food Lion had one-and-a-half tractor-trailers full of food ready to be donated.
The food was delivered to Loudoun Interfaith—which operates the county’s largest food pantry—by the Purcellville Food Lion as it transitions to become a Shop ‘n Save outlet.
What Montgomery thought would be a few pallets of food ended up filling Loudoun Interfaith’s shelves and the pantries of several other non-profit organizations in the area. She called in the Loudoun County High School Raiders football team, and a slew of other volunteers, to help unload the refrigerated trucks Sunday. They worked until 10 p.m.
She also got busy contacting other food pantries to come and restock their shelves. Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter and the Volunteers of America homeless shelter, and several other organizations in the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank network, stopped by Loudoun Interfaith’s Leesburg location today to take what they could use.
“This comes at a fantastic time,” Montgomery said. “This is our, and probably other pantries’, lowest time of the year in terms of donations. People don’t give in the summer and, at this point, wait until the holidays to give.”
The donation included food from just about every aisle, from fresh produce to baked goods and dairy products.
The closure of the grocery store is part of a merger between the parent companies of the Giant and Food Lion supermarket chains in which 22 Food Lion stores were sold to the operator of Shop ‘n Save. The sale does not affect Food Lion stores in Leesburg or Sterling.
“Although this store’s closing was a bummer for people in Purcellville,” Montgomery said, “it has been really great boon for people in need.”
Patty Demmon, Reston Bible Church secretary, said the church usually serves about 115 families food each week. But while loading two pickup truck loads of fresh food this afternoon, Demmon said she anticipates word will get out, and the church will serve upwards of 150 families this week.
“They’ll get to go home with a plethora of fresh food, which is always a blessing, when they can get fresh food,” she said. “A lot of hungry people in Loudoun County are going to get fed this week.”
Reporter Renss Greene contributed to this report.