Food pantry spawned by pandemic moves into larger space

Waymakers Foundation, a food pantry, held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 4 at its new headquarters and distribution center at 7106 Hull Street Road in Chesterfield. (Photos courtesy of Waymakers Foundation)

A food pantry spawned by the pandemic has moved into a larger space near the city limit in Chesterfield County.

Waymakers Foundation cut the ribbon last week week on its new 4,200-square-foot distribution and office facility at 7106 Hull Street Road in the 360 West Shopping Center.

The new space allows the nonprofit to meet the demand it has seen since it launched early in the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to food distribution services, the new office gives the nonprofit space for tutoring and nutrition education services it wants to introduce in the future.

Natasha Lemus

“We want to be a more comprehensive foundation where we can offer multiple services,” Waymakers Executive Director Natasha Lemus said.

The organization previously shared space with Latin Tax Service, a tax consulting company founded by Lemus more than a decade ago and located in the same shopping center.

Waymakers distributes food to at least 600 families monthly in Chesterfield, Richmond and Henrico and demand continues to grow, Lemus said.

Lemus said the nonprofit buys about 80 percent of its food from regional food distributor Feed More, though it also buys from other distributors.

The nonprofit has a five-person staff and has received funding from organizations such as The Community Foundation and Richmond Memorial Health Foundation.

Lemus said Waymakers has found a niche as a Latino-focused hunger relief organization, providing staples like beans, cornmeal and rice to the local Latino community.

The nonprofit launched in April 2020 after Lemus began to get inquiries from people seeking food or other help as the pandemic’s local effects began to be felt in earnest.

“It was so overwhelming and to hear the feedback of how important it was to get the food, we just kept going,” she said.

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