RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local food pantry is taking extra measures to cater to different cultures and feed families in need.
Belmont Community Resource Services food pantry caters to around 440 Latino families every week. As part of the Puritan Cleaners’ 100,000 Meals Campaign, 8News had the opportunity to tour the food pantry with Helen Trevey, the pantry’s executive director.
According to Tevey, the food pantry’s walk-up table is particularly popular with Latino families as it allows them to request specific ingredients.
“We have our walk-up table. I would say that we have about 100 families — most of them are Spanish-speaking — [at] that particular table,” Trevey said. “[It] would cater to cilantro, jalapenos, tortillas, rice, black beans. Things that they are telling us they are looking for.”
The Belmont food pantry is open every Friday at 8 a.m. According to Tevey, however, the line begins to form in the parking lot as early as 7 a.m. and it can grow to 70 cars or more ahead of opening. Still, every family gets a generous amount of food to make meals with.
“Everybody gets four or five pantry items,” Tevey said. “In addition to five-to-seven pounds of meat, a full grocery bag of produce, deli, dessert and bread.”
Reina Mayorga, a manager at Puritan Cleaners, says food has always been a significant part of her community’s culture.
“In our culture, we love rice, beans, anything with vegetables, anything with corn,” Mayorga said. “We can make many dishes with that. It is a little different than American culture.”
Mayorga says her relationship with food is also informed by her own experiences with hunger and food pantries.
“I was raised in a family of seven. Two parents, five kids. It was hard,” she said. “That is how I got my food when I was a child — after-school programs. And back then, I did not know where the food came from, all I knew was that I was receiving help.”