Feeding Greene Inc., the county’s food bank, held a special event for its “grand opening” of its new location at 77/81 Main St. in honor of Hazel Sims.
“As we were discussing the move to our new location, my husband mentioned that food needed to be the first item we brought into the building,” said Rhonda Oliver, director of Feeding Greene. “I immediately thought of a can of beans. One of our former volunteers, Hazel Sims, who passed the day before Christmas 2019, used to tell the story of how she got involved in the food pantry.”
Feeding Greene was located in the old barbell club building on Lamb’s Lane at the time and she stopped by to donate some food and ended up becoming their main intake volunteer also responsible for completing their monthly reports, Oliver recalled. She was the main volunteer that families came into contact with and they came to love her welcoming smile and sweet spirit.
“She loved to laugh and always brightened everyone’s day. Hazel believed in living on the lighter side of life and always knew how to keep everyone smiling,” she said. “There was never a dull moment with Hazel and she came to love and cherish her time at the pantry. She would always say ‘all I wanted to do was donate a can of beans’.”
Oliver said that because of COVID-19 restrictions the food bank cannot have a big grand opening or other celebrations but wanted to do something to mark the occasion. On Friday, May 22, Feeding Greene invited Sims’ children to come to the new pantry and have the honor of being the first to bring in some food (and a can of beans, of course) in memory of their mother.
“Being an all-volunteer organization we recognize the critical role that our volunteers play in the heart and driving force of our food pantry,” Oliver said. “We certainly miss Hazel, but will never forget her. We are so thankful for all of our volunteers, past and present, that have so generously given to help make Feeding Greene such a unique place to work and serve. Each volunteer brings a different gift, talent and experience that makes our time together so special. We have been so blessed to have so many willing volunteers to handle the recent challenges of the coronavirus and want to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for their service.”
Feeding Greene will be serving families starting on Tuesday, June 2 from its new location. They will also begin handing out masks provided by the Virginia Health Department to the families they serve. Feeding Greene is providing two cloth masks per person in the household, but will still serve families through a drive-in method versus them coming into the building to shop. Families will remain in their vehicles while volunteers load their food.