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Yancey food pantry sees increase in use amid pandemic

Dozens of southern Albemarle County residents gathered in their vehicles Friday evening to pick up boxes of food and other items from the B.F Yancey Community Food Pantry.

The food pantry, which operates on the fourth Friday of every month, has seen more people since the COVID-19 pandemic started and created a cash crunch for many families.

“Last month, we had 108 individuals, and we’re expecting a little bit more tonight,” said Berlinda Mills, the pantry’s coordinator. “They’re excited because they get the quality. This is our passion.”

Mills delivers food to those who are homebound, and the pantry boasts 20 volunteers from all over the area.

The pantry accepts donations and also receives items from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, but volunteer Jackie Harris noted that it’s only a small portion of what area residents likely need in a month.

“It equates to a few meals,” she said. “It helps, but for the people who need it, it’s a drop in the bucket.”

UVa fund helps 600-plus

The University of Virginia’s Emergency Assistance Fund has provided assistance to more than 600 furloughed contract workers and university employees, according to a news release this week.

UVa President Jim Ryan this month announced that the university would set up a $2 million emergency assistance fund for contract employees and workers who have been furloughed.

The majority of applications for assistance have come from UVa employees and then contract workers. The largest share of contract employees requesting assistance work for Aramark, the university’s primary food service provider. Most receiving assistance were given between $1,000 and $1,200, according to the university.

Jefferson Trust donation

The Jefferson Trust has raised $125,000 to help UVa students, health care workers and patients amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The funds, raised in 10 days and spurred by a challenge grant from the trust’s chair, Ashley Manning, will go toward UVa’s Student Life and Leadership Fund, created to support students affected by the virus and the university’s closure, and the UVa Health COVID-19 Support Fund, which helps Health System workers and patients in need.

“During this unprecedented time, we understand that the needs of the university are greater than ever,” Manning said in a news release. “There is a grave need at the hospital, and the students’ needs continue to emerge. The needs are real and extremely time sensitive. As a result, the Jefferson Trust has come together to support President Ryan in his daunting task of handling the COVID-19 crisis.”

Guard mask fittings

The Virginia National Guard will provide N95 fit testing events in a number of facilities in the area over the next two weeks.

The Guard began working on Friday in Charlottesville to conduct mask fit testing for staff working in long-term, assisted living and memory care facilities, according to a news release.

N95 mask fit testing is conducted to confirm a tight seal forms between the respirator and the wearer’s face before it is used in the workplace to ensure that users receive the expected level of protection by minimizing any contaminant leakage into the mask.

The specialized masks are critical for health care workers who are treating patients with communicable diseases. Community members should continue to wear cloth face coverings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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