Farmville’s local food pantry, FACES, is preparing to open a new facility off of Commerce Road in Prince Edward County three months after a flood in May.
“We are purchasing a new building on Commerce Road, east of the YMCA,” said Bobby Eiban, FACES vice president of operations. Their current location, 416 N. South St., is at a low level, making it susceptible to flooding. The new facility will be a 7,000-square foot building, which is double the size of their current location, which is 3,200-square feet.
A hunger-relief organization called Feedmore, gave FACES a grant for $500,000 to open the new facility. The land for the pantry has been purchased, and site preparations will begin starting next month. FACES President Ellery Sedgwick said they are expecting construction to begin in December and be completed by March 2019. He is being optimistic about the opening, hoping for April 1.
Three months ago, the local food pantry lost almost all of their food and had to shut down halfway through their distribution on Saturday, May 19. While cleaning up, they missed two distributions and were unable to feed their 750 families.
The Farmville community immediately helped, bringing in volunteers from all over town, as well as an emergency team to help clean up. A total of 70 people showed up to help as soon as the flooding occurred. While FACES was closed, they were still able to deliver food to their elderly residents that rely on the pantry.
FACES President Ellery Sedgwick said, “It’s important to note that we’re all volunteers, no one gets paid, so we can use our whole budget on food.”
The volunteers were able to get the meat into the freezers, as well as food up and away from the water. While volunteering, they sanitized and deep cleaned the remaining freezers and the building. They also threw away the damaged food.
In addition to volunteers, they had a GoFundMe account created in their name so people could make monetary donations towards the pantry. They raised $5,150 and it all went straight to buying new food, freezers and fixing any damages caused by the flood.
The food pantry also received grants, in addition to the GoFundMe donations, from organizations in Richmond and Lynchburg. From Virginia Commonwealth University alone, they received a $5,000 grant. Sedgwick is humbled by the “generous donations” that have been given to the pantry. The used the money given to them as grants to pay to fix the damages and begin the process of constructing the new facility.
The FACES board of directors are grateful for the generosity that has been shown to them since the flooding. They are back up and running, feeding their clients weekly. President Ellery Sedgwick says volunteers are able to come on Thursdays at 4 p.m. or Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. When the new facility opens in the spring, their operating hours will still remain the same.