Since April 16, 2020, the Ampersand Pantry Project has distributed more than 80,000 free lunches to COVID-impacted individuals and families.
Meals are prepared by area restaurants and include an entree, granola bar, juice pouch and fresh fruit. In addition to lunches, the project has provided more than 500,000 diapers, 14,500 carnations, 2,000 pounds of pet food, dozens of haircuts, numerous hygiene products, and thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables. In addition to flowers, the volunteers also work to lift spirits by providing other special items on holidays, including fully cooked Thanksgiving dinners, an Angel Tree-type toy drive at Christmas, and ice cream and gift cards on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the Fourth of July.
The 501c3 charity was founded by attorney Peter Burnett and began offering the free lunches at the onset of the pandemic. As the project continues to serve hundreds of stressed neighbors, contributions and volunteers have been critical to the project continuing. As long as there remains sufficient support, Burnett and his team of volunteers plan to continue the project until vaccines, warm weather, and employment put recipients in a better financial place.
The effort requires the work of approximately 12 unpaid volunteers who distribute food and other essentials in three Leesburg locations for two hours each day at a cost of $40,000 per month. Virtually all of the money needed to keep the nonprofit going has come from community donations.
For information about volunteer opportunities, contact Gabriela Lamas firstname.lastname@example.org 571-919-1382.