‘Tis the season to tackle food insecurity


Kalorra Smith

Food Rescue US volunteers help put USDA food boxes into the trunks of cars in the Green Run High School parking lot to help decrease food insecurity on Dec. 5.

Kalorra Smith, Staff Writer

The Food Rescue of Virginia Beach reduces food waste and insecurity in the community throughout the pandemic one food box distribution at a time, just in time for the holidays.

The organization serves as one of the branches of the national non-profits that pick up excess food from local restaurants, farms, and businesses to deliver it to local hunger-relief groups, churches, and the community.

The chapter also saves food that could enter landfills where it adds to larger environmental issues such as pollution and the emission of methane gas.

“I was shocked to learn that around 40% of our country’s edible food supply actually ends up in landfills,” said Virginia Beach Food Rescue US chapter founder Natalia De Los Rios.

Due to the pandemic, the organization received more food than normal through the USDA’s COVID-19 hunger-relief program which boosted the organization’s involvement. 

“So many people do not have access to a stable income and it can be hard for them to get food, so knowing that more people more than before are food insecure made me more motivated to continue volunteering,” said sophomore Katie Logg.

Volunteers should follow @foodrescueus.virginiabeach on Instagram for updates and join their Remind @frusvbv to access their SignUpGenius where they sign up for food box rescues held each Saturday.

“By the end of this month, [Food Rescue] will have distributed close to 600,000 lbs. of food in total between the food box program and the food rescued from a dozen local businesses,” said Natalia.

On Dec. 5, volunteers passed out boxes at Green Run High School’s parking lot to benefit the community from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“[Volunteers] know that the holidays can be a very financially stressful time for many families, so we hope to lighten the load a little bit,” said Natalia.

The Food Rescue hopes to secure grants to fund local restaurants; efforts to prepare meals for those in need, get involved with efforts at Virginia Beach farms, and partner with commercial food distributors to receive their surplus food.

“I’m hoping to get clubs started at all of the Virginia Beach high schools that will focus on finding excess food in businesses near their schools and bringing it to local pantries,” said Natalia.