Dealing with budget cuts, city food pantry turns away some folks

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RICHMOND, Va. -- William Jones is a regular at Capital Area Partnership’s Uplifting People food pantry.

"I love the service," he said.

The 69-year-old depends on the service to fill the shelves of his pantry at home.

“They don’t ask a lot of question…you know…And the people are real nice. They treat you real nice," Jones said.

But recently Jones was turned away from the Capital Area Partnership’s Uplifting people program, which provides food and other valuable services to the community.

“I didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have sufficient funds to get food and you know it’s just rough," said Jones.

Other viewers also contacted the Problem Solvers telling us they couldn’t get food at the pantry because no one was available to help them.

We found out city leaders have cut the funding to the nonprofit agency over the last several years due budget constraints.

That impacted the number of staff and hours at CapUp’s food pantry and affected the other services the nonprofit provides.

Staff said they have had to turn away people.

“They’ve come down in the afternoons,” said Thomas Wagstaff, President and CEO, CapUp. “A lot of people have adjusted pretty quickly.”

“It’s a hard field to work in because you see the suffering in the community," said Wagstaff. “I set aside five to 10,000 dollars a year to buy food at the food bank.“

Wagstaff tells the Problem Solvers food to keep the pantry going is donated from the USDA, local farms and other agencies.
He was afraid they would have to shut down.

"It's not great. But at least we can serve people," said Wagstaff.

People like Jones, who more often than not, doesn’t go hungry.

"Yeah, I'm happy about that. My wife and I, we are old now, and it's kind of rough," said Jones. "But we make it."

CapUp needs your help to stay fully operational.

The agency is looking for 20 volunteers to work Monday through Friday.

You can do so by calling Dora Hall at 804-788-0050.

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