Community supports and recognizes the needs and benefits of this organization
For most social media posts, “going viral” usually means the content has been shared or viewed more than a million times. But for the Haymarket Regional Food Pantry, one post — shared over 300 times and picked up by local media channels — had just as much impact as if it truly went viral. The picture depicted empty shelves and made the community aware of just how much the pantry requires to fulfill the families they serve — 900 boxes of cereal and 900 boxes of macaroni and cheese PER WEEK, among so many other crucial needs.
Our community went into action immediately. Director and board member Eileen Smith, writer of the post, is still blown away by the support from the community since then. “We have received donations from so many individuals and groups since then — some long term donors, some completely new donors,” she explains. Businesses and organizations created food drives and offered to serve as a donation location collecting food in bins, and locals challenged their friends and family to clean out their own pantries or take a quick shopping trip to do their part in filling the shelves.
The shelves were filled quickly, but a few months later they were empty again. So Eileen wrote another post — there was no cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta sauce, tuna fish, or peanut butter available at the time for those in need. This second post was shared almost 300 times and once again the community responded in force.
This last year has included some challenges for the all-volunteer organization, including a big move from the blue historic home up the hill off Washington Street to their current location in the back of the office building on Jefferson Street. This move not only posed difficulties physically in getting the entire contents of the space relocated, but the increase in rent created a substantial financial dilemma: pay rent or buy food. The outpouring of support helped ease those burdens.
“I think one of the blessings of the food pantry is how it teaches so many how fortunate we are and encourages us to think of those who aren’t as lucky,” says Eileen. This humble organization relies on the community to help them serve so many families truly in need. Much gratitude is sent to all who stepped up and made a difference.
The food pantry needs your donation
“As I fought the crowds at Wegmans today I couldn’t help but think of our empty shelves at the Food Pantry. Wegmans says it is their second busiest day of the year today. Next time you’re shopping please think of us — our shelves are bare. Below are our shelves for cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce and peanut butter. We go through 900 boxes of cereal and 900 boxes of macaroni and cheese each week — throw a couple of extras into your shopping cart for the Food Pantry please.” -Director and Board member Eileen Smith
Location and Hours
The Haymarket Regional Food Pantry is now located at 6611 Jefferson Street in the Town of Haymarket. The entrance to the pantry is on the backside of the building and there is a donation container to the right of the door.
Open for Food Donations
Monday: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am to to 12:00 pm
For your convenience, food donations are also accepted at participating donation locations. Go to https://haymarketfoodpantry.org/donation-location/ for a list.
Open for Food Distribution
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
If the Prince William County School District is closed due to weather, the food pantry will also be closed.