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One of LEAP's sponsors is Mast General Store. Mast is an employee-owned and family-run business headquartered in Valle Crucis, NC. They opened a store in Roanoke's downtown in 2020.
Here is a message Mast wanted us to share with our readers: "One of Mast General Store’s core values is our commitment to fulfilling the basic, everyday needs of our neighbors. We’re fortunate to be a part of Roanoke, and we believe that the community we share here is only as strong as the residents who are the most vulnerable.
Childhood food insecurity is among the predominant needs the Mast Store addresses. According to national data, one in 10 children in Virginia face hunger on a regular basis and have no reliable meal source. At $3.30, the average statewide price of a meal is too much for some parents to afford for their kids.
Since its opening in 2020, the Roanoke Mast General Store has partnered with Feeding Southwest Virginia. This agency provides free produce and nutrition education to food insecure children across 26 Virginia counties. Feeding Southwest Virginia is also a stakeholder in the Roanoke Foodshed Network. This collaborative network increases access to healthy food for Virginia residents through regional food production and equitable distribution.
While ensuring food reaches the tables of people who are experiencing hunger is of utmost importance, the Mast Store also strives to protect and enhance food production at its source: local farmers.On the shelves of the Roanoke Mast Store Mercantile, you’ll find several varieties of food from Virginia, including peanuts, canned goods, and honey. We support the local farmers who grow, produce, and distribute these items so that they may continue providing delicious, healthy food. We also support them because we recognize that sustainable agriculture remains an essential part of our region’s economy and cultural identity.
Another way that the Mast Store promotes locally-oriented, small-scale food production is through our support for land conservancies. These groups, also known as land trusts, preserve our landscapes, create shared outdoor spaces, protect wildlife habitats, and provide recreational opportunities for all people in our communities. They also provide critical legal work to guarantee that, among other efforts, family farms are passed down from generation to generation and that the working land is kept intact.
Our Roanoke-area land trust partner, Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, protects 21,000 acres of land in Southwest Virginia, including areas adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Smith Mountain Lake.Through partnerships and initiatives like these, the Mast Store Roanoke serves our neighbors, makes our community more livable for all people, and tells the stories of our home."