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This month, LEAP kicked off an important partnership and program to serve our community.
Each week, representatives from six community partners – Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, Casa Latina, Feeding Southwest Virginia’s Community Solutions Center, The Hope Center, Lion’s Share Food Pantry at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, and West End Center for Youth – will arrive at The LEAP Hub (1027 Patterson Ave. SW) to pick up boxes of fresh, Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables to distribute to their clients.
The produce comes from 4P Foods, a local food distributor based in Charlottesville, VA, who purchases from more than 200 small and mid-sized family farms. LEAP is distributing local food to underserved communities as a sub-awardee on a grant through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA), administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
This is not the first time LEAP has worked with community partners to supply vital fruits and vegetables. The effort began in 2020, as LEAP worked to provide emergency produce while traditional food systems broke down. The Community Produce Program is the most recent way that LEAP is using federal dollars to connect community organizations to local fruits and vegetables.
Community partners pick up wholesale boxes of seasonal fruits and vegetables. This allows each partner to serve its clients as needed. Some will divide the order into take-home bags for clients, others will allow clients to choose the produce they want to eat, still others can cook the produce and provide prepared food to their customers.
Pickups will continue weekly for the next year, creating a stable source of fresh food for individuals and families who might not otherwise have access to it.