Loaves & Fishes Provides Food to Guests of The Haven

The Haven, located in downtown Charlottesville, endeavors to end homelessness in the greater Charlottesville community. Those without a place to call home have challenges obtaining nutritious food as well as other basics.  The Haven provides a place to shower, do laundry, receive mail, and receive assistance with finding housing and employment.

Francesca Rinaldo, the kitchen manager at The Haven, focuses on providing breakfast for more than 100 guests on a daily basis.  Guests begin their day with a nourishing meal – 365 days a year!  All are welcome! Several local churches provide lunches to 120-140 guests each weekday.  Francesca and her team oversee the distribution of these lunches to the guests at the Haven.  The Haven currently houses about 60 people in a local hotel so they can shelter in place during the pandemic, and Francesca and her team coordinate the cooking and delivery of dinners to these guests during the week.

Francesca noted that Loaves & Fishes is a source of a variety of food. Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Jane Colony Mills, calls Francesca when she has an abundance of food that The Haven guests might enjoy.  Examples include venison, and vegetables like onions and peppers that can be used in omelets and other dishes and recently, a large box of churros. Francesca noted that the churros were a great hit for a recent lunch – she heated them and dusted them with cinnamon sugar and the guests were thrilled!  The venison was used in meatloaves – combined with pork or beef – and served to those guests who are staying in hotels.

Francesca appreciates the calls from Jane – and says she receives some really fun things from Loaves & Fishes that she would not otherwise have had access.  An example is many quarts of fresh strawberries – which she could not otherwise purchase.  She and her team made desserts, jam, and pancake syrup – much to the delight of guests. 

She says with a smile – “Sometimes what’s on offer is something we can’t use – such as large packages of sprinkles. I still have the bear meat she gave us and I’m looking at creative ways to serve it to our guests.”

Francesca also noted that Loaves & Fishes is an important resource for the guests who have been rehoused.  About two dozen family units receive food from the pantry each month.  She notes that some of the guests awaiting housing are frustrated – because they have no way to store or cook the nutritious food available from the food pantry.

Loaves & Fishes is raising funds to expand its ability to store fresh and frozen food, to meet the needs of the community. Donate today and help feed people in our community

Photo: Volunteers prepare breakfast to go at The Haven. Photo credit: Zack Wajsgras.