Organizations collaborate to address food insecurity in Madison

MADISON COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Multiple organizations are coming together to address food insecurities in Madison County.

The organizations involved include the Madison County Department of Social Services, the Madison Free Clinic, the Madison Senior Center, MESA (Madison Emergency Services Association), Rural Madison Inc., Virginia Cooperative Extension and several churches.

Valerie Ward, the director of the Madison County Department of Social Services, said there are many people in the county that are not able to be served food by current food programs.

The main reason for this issue is transportation, especially for those who live in rural areas of the county.

"Either they have no transportation at all or they have vehicles that can't be relied on," said Ward. "Transportation is the primary barrier to get from their remote locations whether it is in the far reaches of the county or just get down the street due to their disability and age."

The organizations are looking to create a mobile food pantry with help from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

Volunteers would put food in boxes and they would take them to areas in the county and residents could pick up the boxes.

"If folks can get over that hurdle, this is a way they don't have to go to Charlottesville to a food bank or to MESA or the Department of Social Services and they can still access those food boxes," said Ward.

The organizations are looking to get volunteers soon so they can get the project going in order to help those individuals.

"If we aren't meeting folks' basic needs for food and safe housing and community health, we can't really move on to other levels of community engagement and follow through with our citizens," said Ward.

There will be a meeting about the issue on Jan. 10 at the Madison Senior Center.

The organizations hope to have the project going by spring 2020.

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