Our Story

One in nine people in Charlottesville struggles to access enough healthy food each month. Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry exists to provide free groceries to families and individuals in Charlottesville and surrounding communities. This struggle can have many effects—adults may skip meals to make sure children eat or they may have to choose between food and other important expenses such as housing, utilities or medical bills.

By providing free groceries twice per month to low-wealth households, Loaves & Fishes helps them stretch their food budgets further. We are the 2nd largest distribution partner of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

We work with many area partners including Piedmont Housing Alliance, Salvation Army, The Haven, The Crossings, Alliance for Interfaith Ministries, the International Rescue Committee, International Neighbors, Region 10, the Emergency Food Network and other food pantries to provide food to people who are unable to come to the pantry.

Our History

125 volunteers each week assist our 15 staff (7 full-time, 8 part-time) in collecting, inspecting, sorting, bagging, and giving out food to 500 households each week. In 2023, Loaves & Fishes gave 2,369,784 lbs. of free groceries to 100,235 people in 27,212 households from Charlottesville and all surrounding counties.

When COVID-19 arrived in March, Loaves & Fishes hired 6 additional part time staff, reduced volunteer opportunities by 75%, moved distributions to prepacked food distributed outside, canceled regular Tuesday evening distributions, and distributed 1,991,768 lbs. of food to 19,741 households

2015 (August)
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry relocated to 2050 Lambs Road, greatly expanded our food storage and choices, and implemented the client choice model where clients can choose the foods their families are most likely to eat.

2013 (June)
Loaves & Fishes added its first full-time employee, an Executive Director, to provide oversight to our program and to help us build capacity. Since then, we have added a full-time Operations Manager and Warehouse Assistant, full-time Office Manager/Bookkeeper, a Volunteer Coordinator and part-time Driver to keep up with our growing organization and the need in our community.

Loaves & Fishes move to Greenbrier Drive in Albemarle County to better serve our expanding client base and to include space for refrigeration equipment.

With a desire to build on broader partnerships across the community, Loaves & Fishes was incorporated as a Virginia non-profit corporation and received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS.

Loaves & Fishes began as an outreach ministry of Charlottesville’s First United Methodist Church.

Last newsletter for 2023

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Cultivate Charlottesville and the Urban Agriculture Collective

It was 3:30 in the afternoon on a Friday in early June when a tan pickup truck rolled into the parking lot of the Friendship Court Apartments. The truck belonged to Cultivate Charlottesville, a local non-profit that operates an urban farm program called the Urban Agriculture Collective. Inside the truck’s bed were neatly stacked bins of fresh produce.…

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Blue Ridge Health District’s New Mobile Health Clinic Makes First Stop at Loaves & Fishes

Loaves & Fishes was delighted to be chosen as the first stop for the Blue Ridge Health District’s new Mobile Health Clinic during our regular Wednesday afternoon food distribution on June 9, 2021. The health district purchased the unit, a long-time dream according to Carol Chandross, a nurse for 30 years with the health district, with…

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Meet Loaves & Fishes Board Member Daniel Fairley

Loaves & Fishes Board member Daniel Fairley is passionate about social justice and equity, with a focus on service and action. His involvement in the Charlottesville community—Big Brothers, Big Sisters volunteer; member, and now President of 100 Black Men; and as Youth Opportunity Coordinator for the City of Charlottesville since 2017—has deepened his commitment. Daniel’s…

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Community Partner • All Blessings Flow

Annie Dodd, founder of medical equipment nonprofit All Blessings Flow said, “There was a need, and no one had really thought about filling it!”  Annie cared for her mom, who had polio as a teenager and post-polio syndrome in her last years, and required a lot of medical equipment. When her mother passed away, there was nowhere…

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Partner • Shelter for Help and Emergency

As the residential manager for Shelter for Help in Emergency, Andrea Domingue makes sure the shelter is operational and services are being provided. This includes ensuring that all clients and their children have sufficient nutritious food. Each year the Shelter provides safety and services for over 400 women and children experiencing domestic violence. While at…

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How L&F Partner PB&J Fund Pivoted During the Pandemic

March 2020 started out warm, following another mild Winter in the Piedmont. Speculation about a late snowstorm was beginning to fade while news about a new novel coronavirus was trending on social media. The growing threat of a global pandemic was as palpable as a gust of wind ahead of an approaching storm. Alex London-Gross,…

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Meet Monica Davis, RDN, Loaves & Fishes Nutritionist

Nutritionist Monica Davis, who joined Loaves & Fishes’ staff in 2020, has been enthralled with food her entire life.  Monica comes from a big Minnesota family and helped her mom, an excellent cook, prepare the family meals. When a dietitian from a local hospital spoke about her career in dietetics at Monica’s high school 4H meeting, Monica…

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Meet L&F Volunteer Coordinator, Tracy Arbaugh

Tracy Arbaugh has been an integral part of Loaves & Fishes over the past 10 years.  She first started by volunteering with her family on the first Saturday of each month when the pantry ran out of Jackson Via Elementary.  Three years later, the time requirements of her job as a preschool teacher offered the…

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Meet Volunteer Gaby Lohner

Gaby Lohner moved to Charlottesville in 2018 to work as a Research Assistant with Nudge4 Solutions Lab at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Nudge4 works to help lower income students navigate barriers to higher education.  Gaby works closely with community colleges, especially PVCC, helping students navigate admission and financial support.  Katharine…

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A Food Bank Agency

As a distribution partner of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Loaves & Fishes gives out two different United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food programs, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). In 2022, 25% of our groceries came from the USDA, with another 22% from donations to the Food Bank passed through to the pantry.

We also accept donations of food directly from local grocers, farmers, orchards, food distributors, and food drives.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Loaves & Fishes offers food from the US Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Anyone whose total household income is 185% or less of the Federal Poverty Level can receive TEFAP food from Loaves & Fishes and other food pantries.

Any household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid is eligible to receive TEFAP food at Loaves & Fishes.


Senior Food Box Program:
Senior Food Boxes contain food obtained from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) that is then packed by volunteers at the Food Bank, along with nutrition education and recipe cards. This is the USDA’s only program that specifically targets low-income seniors and is open to individuals aged 60 and over with incomes at or below the current 130% federal poverty guidelines.

Each month, qualified area seniors at least 60 years of age visiting Loaves & Fishes receive a 300-pound box of shelf-stable foods, such as milk, juice, cereal, rice or pasta, peanut butter, dry beans, canned meat, poultry, or fish, canned fruits and vegetables, and a two-pound block of cheese, in addition to the fresh and shelf-stable food we give all households.


Loaves & Fishes does not share any information regarding our clients with anyone other than what we are required to report annually to the USDA.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint Form and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. Mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. Email: program.intake@usda.gov.

Contact Us

We would love to hear from you.

Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
2050 Lambs Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901


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