Food Desert Task Force Releases Report

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The Food Desert Task Force was created in 2013 to study the current status of food deserts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Made up of experts in agriculture, commerce, vulnerable populations, food banks, and  food systems, this task force included the Executive Director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, Leslie Van Horn.

The report “identifies challenges, consequences, strategies, and resources to address food deserts and offers recommendations for the General Assembly’s consideration and action.”

The Task Force was formed after Delegate Delores McQuinn’s introduction of House Joint Resolution 88 in 2012 and then her reintroduction of House Joint Resolution 646 the following year, both requesting that the Virginia General Assembly review the issue of food deserts in Virginia. The Honorable William Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly, commissioned two Virginia college deans to conduct a study of food deserts, who in turn assembled the Food Desert Task Force.

The complete report can be found here.

A county-specific map showing food insecurity rates layered with food desert data can be found here.

Epic Basketball Games Raise Funds for Virginia’s Food Banks

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The Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic 2013 brings together Virginia  basketball teams to show off the Commonwealth’s athletic skills as well as raise funds for the members of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. This year’s event takes place on December 21, 2013 at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA. Tickets can now be purchased through the competing teams’ ticket offices. Those teams are:

Hampton v. JMU at 3 pm

Virginia Tech vs. VCU at 5 pm

Last year, this event raised almost $50,000 for Federation food banks. These food banks together serve over 1 million individuals per year and distributed over 122 million pounds of food and grocery product last year alone.


Wawa’s Check-Out Hunger Campaign Starts Today!

From Monday, November 25 – December 29, 2013 Virginia’s Wawa stores will be participating in their “Check-Out Hunger” campaign, which allows customers to donate to their local food bank from store registers. Last year, this campaign raised over $50,000 – a 96% increase from the previous year – for food banks across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

To participate, go to any Virginia Wawa location and look for the “Check-Out Hunger” tickets at the register. You, too, can help Virginia “Check-Out Hunger”!

Infographic for Day To Serve: September 15 – 29, 2013

how-to-help-calderon3-2September 15 – 29th is a time to choose a Day to Serve. It is a regional and interdenominational collaboration between Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

In Virginia, Day To Serve features the Commonwealth’s 7 Feeding America food banks organized under the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. Explore Day to Serve with this new infographic, and then get involved by choosing a food bank where you can volunteer during this time period!

To see the graphic larger, simply click on it!

2013 Legal Food Frenzy Meets Goal of 10 Million Pounds

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced on May 7 that 183 law firms, legal departments, government offices, and law schools across Virginia joined together to raise almost 1.5 million pounds of food for Virginia’s hungry during a two-week drive in April. This year’s goal was to push the total amount of food raised over the seven years of the event to the equivalent of 10 million pounds of food. The results of the seventh annual Legal Food Frenzy announced today bring the cumulative seven-year total raised to the equivalent of more than 10 million pounds of food for Virginia’s food banks, surpassing this year’s goal. The total raised since inception is 10,017,511 pounds.

The Legal Food Frenzy – a statewide competition and collaboration between the attorney general’s office, the Virginia Bar Association, and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks – pitted Virginia law firms and legal departments against each other to see which could raise the most food for food banks in their local communities.

The attorney general sponsors the Legal Food Frenzy and hosts kick-off events around the commonwealth to encourage law firms to participate.

“It was an honor to once again partner with Virginia’s legal community to help make a healthier commonwealth for us all,” said Cuccinelli. “Virginia’s food banks supply food to charities every day to feed the hungry, especially children and the elderly. Many of the charities that food banks supply don’t just give food away. They try to help people learn new job skills, find jobs, and break the chains of poverty that hold them down.”

This year, for the third year in a row, the firm of B. Cullen Gibson from Norfolk took overall first place again by raising 17,550 pounds per employee, and as a result, won the Attorney General’s Cup.

“We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to not only the great leadership from the attorney general and the Virginia Bar Association co-chairs, but to everyone who contributed food and funds to make this another successful Legal Food Frenzy year,” said Leslie Van Horn, executive director for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, a partner state association of Feeding America, who helps the attorney general organize the campaign. “We continue to see staggering numbers of individuals in need of food assistance. This food and funding comes at an extremely critical time for all seven food banks throughout the state. I’d like to thank everyone who participated for making a difference in the lives of the people in your communities.”

The contest ran for two weeks in April and was open to all lawyers, their staffs, and members of the legal community across Virginia.

In addition to thanking the food drive coordinators and representatives across the state, the attorney general offers a special thanks to Leslie Van Horn and the Virginia Bar Association’s Food Frenzy co-chairs, Chris Gill of Christian & Barton; Derek Swanson of McGuire Woods, LLP; Virginia Robinson of DynCorp International, LLC; and Lauren Wheeling of Williams Mullen for organizing the campaign. The attorney general would also like to thank the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association for serving as the campaign model more than 22 years ago in the Hampton Roads area, and allowing the legal community to use their model throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Note: Pounds of food listed above and below are counted by both food and cash donations. Cash donations are converted to the number of pounds of food they will provide.

The winners of the 7th Annual Statewide “Legal Food Frenzy” Categories:

Attorney General’s Cup Winner: Per Capita

B. Cullen Gibson (Norfolk): 17,550 pounds per person

Small (1-20) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The Brunswick Stew Award”

Murphy & McGonigle, P.C.  (Richmond): 30,036  pounds

Small (1-20) Law Firm Per Capita: “The Shenandoah Apple Award”

Amy G. Pesesky PLC (Norfolk): 3,125 pounds per person

Medium (21-100) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The James River Shad Award”

Christian & Barton LLP  (Richmond): 65,743 pounds

Medium (21-100) Law Firm Per Capita: “The Hanover Tomato Award”

McKenry, Dancigers, Dawson & Lake P.C. (Virginia Beach): 1,371 pounds per person

Large (101 and up) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The Smithfield Ham Award”

McGuireWoods LLP (all locations): 161,413 pounds

Large (101 and up) Law Firm Per Capita: “The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Award”

Kaufman & Canoles (all locations): 496 pounds per person

Sole Proprietor (1-2) Law Firm Total Pounds: “The Virginia Peanut Award”

ReavesColey PLLC (Chesapeake): 3,569 pounds

Law School Winner of Attorney General’s Cup Total Pounds and Per Capita:

University of Richmond School of Law (Richmond): 18,199 pounds, 40 pounds per person

Government and Public Service Total Pounds:  “The Urbanna Oyster Award”

Office of the Attorney General (Richmond): 96,680 pounds

Government and Public Service Per Capita  “The Old Dominion Soybean Award”

Prince William County Attorney’s Office: 1,644 pounds per person

Legal Department Per Capita “The Virginia Strawberry Award”

Norfolk Southern Corporation Legal Department (Norfolk): 844 pounds per person

Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you to all the participants! 



LegalFoodFrenzy_2013_colorThe 7th Annual Legal Food Frenzy is officially  underway! Over the past 6 years this statewide food and fund drive has collected the equivalent of over 8.5 million pounds of food and grocery product. The goal this year it to take that cumulative number to 10 million!

The Legal Food Frenzy engages the legal community, including legal firms, law schools, and legal departments, in a friendly competition to raise food and funds for Virginia’s food banks. Winners in various categories are celebrated with an award as well as a reception with the Governor and Attorney General at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

All food and funds collected go to support the seven Federation food banks throughout the state.

Attorney General Cuccinelli Kicks Off the 2013 Legal Food Frenzy

The 7th Annual Legal Food Frenzy season is upon us! With kick-off events happening all around the Commonwealth, the Virginia legal community is getting revved up to make this year the most successful food and fund drive yet. Our goal is to hit 10 million combined pounds this year, and we can do it!LegalFoodFrenzy_2013_color

Law firms, legal departments, law schools and individual lawyers collected food and funds for two weeks each to compete for a coveted Legal Food Frenzy award. Determined by per capital and total pounds raised, these awards celebrate contributions that often are the result of fun and exciting events hosted by the legal community. Wine tastings, indoor putt-putt, and jeans days are only a hint at the effort and enthusiasm the legal community puts into helping feed Virginians who struggle with food insecurity.

At a time when demand for food is high and supply is low, events such as the Legal Food Frenzy truly make a difference for Virginia’s food banks. The food and funds collected during these two weeks are immediately put to use by the seven Federation food banks and help keep shelves full during challenging times.Ken and Leslie at SEVA


Holiday Hoops Nets Federation almost $50,000 in Ticket Proceeds

The Federation is proud to announce that the Governor’s Inaugural Holiday Hoops which took place in December 2012 raised almost $50,000 for Virginia’s food banks! These funds, in addition to the funds and food collected across Virginia by participating colleges, is the equivalent of 214 tons of food and grocery products, or nearly 375,000 meals.

Speaking about the announcement today, Governor McDonnell remarked, “This impressive show of generosity from the university communities and individuals around Virginia will make a real difference for Virginia families. The Virginia Way is about uniting together to serve and lift up our communities. This food drive is another sterling example of that commitment and demonstrates the good will Virginians are known for. On the court, but especially off the court Virginians have a lot to be proud of; I commend all those who participated.”

Leslie Van Horn, Executive Director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, said, “At the onset we determined a goal of raising over 100,000 pounds of food. In the end we far surpassed that goal. The partnership with the Governor’s office and the participating universities has been a resounding success. As a result of this food drive, food banks in every corner of the state will receive an influx of much needed donations. I want to thank everyone involved for their contributions and efforts.”

Read the entire press release here.


Wawa Day at the Capitol Celebrates the Federation

Wawa Day Leslie GovIt was Wawa Day in Richmond, VA on February 7, 2013! Representatives from the popular chain of food service and gas stations set up tents outside of the State Capitol to serve congresspeople and staff. They also presented Leslie Van Horn and the Federation with a check for over $24,000, funds raised during the annual “Check Out Hunger” in-store fundraising campaign. These funds will be put to use by all seven Federation member food banks as they try to refill shelves emptied out during the busy holiday season.The Federation thanks Wawa for its continued support of Virginia’s struggling individuals and families!

See a slideshow of the event here.

Getting Reading for Day To Serve 2013!

Day to Serve 2012 was a fantastic success across several states! We are getting ready to embark upon this year’s event, and hope to increase the number of Virginia locations and events. Have a look at last year’s successes with this short video and stay tuned for updates on this year’s Day to Serve!