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RRHA Pauses Food Distribution Until Further Notice

creighton court
(Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

A longtime food distribution program at Richmond’s public housing communities has been discontinued as of this month. Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority said the decision comes in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The service is provided through a partnership between RRHA and hunger relief organization FeedMore, and has offered fresh food and groceries to hundreds of residents each month. RRHA CEO Damon Duncan said the agencies are working together to start the food distribution service back up by May, but that hasn't been determined yet. 

The housing authority's Communications Director Angela Fountain said the agency has limited its staff operations during the coronavirus pandemic due to a lack of personal protective equipment to keep them safe. As a result, there aren’t enough hands on deck to run the food pantry service. She said residents were notified of the change one week before it took place. 

“Prior to COVID-19 RRHA’s Resident Services employees and other volunteers were on hand to receive the deliveries [from FeedMore], break down the boxes and distribute to residents,” Fountain said. “RRHA residents do not rely on the monthly deliveries from Feedmore as a source of food. It is in no way a primary or essential source of food.” 

Most of RRHA’s public housing properties are located within the city’s food deserts — with only two of the “big six” courts being less than one mile away from a grocery store. 

Mayor Levar Stoney’s Press Secretary Jim Nolan said that the city will do what it can to help get FeedMore’s food pantry back up-and-running at RRHA properties. 

“We believe it’s important that our most vulnerable communities have access to healthy food at all times, and especially during the crisis,” Nolan said.

In the meantime, residents in need of assistance with anything from food access to housing security can visit the city’s centralized guide of supportive services at RVAStrong.org

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