Chesterfield Food Bank fires employee over controversial remarks

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield Food Bank (CFB) said that it has terminated an employee for using controversial language in a confrontation captured on camera.

Since the incident, the video has been circulated on social media. It was posted on Facebook on April 22 and picked up dozens of shares.

The video shows only a few seconds of the confrontation, so it’s unclear what prompted it.

On Saturday, 8News spoke with CFB CEO Kim Hill, who posted a response to the video and announced the employee’s termination Friday morning.

“It was a very sad situation,” Hill said. “This young lady has been with us for a couple of years, and she’s grown a lot in her life. She’s really tried to work hard to change. She’s a single mother and she’s worked hard to try to provide for her children.”

Hill said that several people reached out to CFB regarding the video and the involvement of one of its employees.

“She was not acting with the values of what we stand for,” Hill said. “As much as it broke my heart to have to deal with it, the Food Bank was not going to not take care of this and take care of it quickly because we wanted the community to know that we’re moving forward with our standards and our values of what we’re trying to accomplish with our mission.”

Since the video was posted, CFB has held multiple food distribution events, working to meet a need that increased exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everybody was caught off guard,” Hill said. “They didn’t realize that they were going to be in such need. We didn’t realize that we were going to have to provide such a great service to so many people. But the community came together and we turned on a dime.”

Hill said that in 2019, CFB was serving between 8,000 and 10,000 local residents per month. During the pandemic, that has increased to approximately 35,000 every month. That meant more than doubling the number of employees at CFB and relying heavily on volunteers.

“It was very sad — a lot of tears, lot of disappointment, lot of not knowing what they were going to do, and the one thing that we could do is encourage them that we were here for them and they didn’t have to worry about their food,” Hill said. “We were going to do the best we can to make sure that there was food in those cupboards, that they could cook meals and be a family.”

Even as more Virginians receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the increased demand from the CFB is still there.

“As of right now, the need has remained,” Hill said. “We think it’s going to be a while for our economy and everybody to get back on their feet, back to work. So we really don’t know what things are going to look like in 2022, but we’re hoping that it’s going to be better.”

That’s why Hill said that CFB continued with its food distributions, even after learning of the confrontation involving one of its employees.

“We weren’t going to cancel any events,” she said. “We’re still going to work with people. We’re still going to try our best to be the best influence we can be in people’s lives and in the community, and that’s why we wanted to be an example of how not to run from a situation, but deal with it, deal with it upfront because it’s going to take all of us working together to change the future.”

Hill said she is hopeful that both of the individuals involved in the confrontation can heal from it.

“We’re just going to continue to move forward with what we know we’re supposed to do,” she said. “That’s just to be there for people, be there for what they need and be the best example we can be.”

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