BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE
LANDSTOWN — The late Elsie Creekmore was a savvy, successful business owner, but she also was a compassionate person who remembered the less fortunate and contributed to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
Creekmore, who established Creekmore’s Place with her husband, Linwood Creekmore Sr., died in 2018, but her children want to continue her legacy of caring by donating fresh fruits and vegetables to the food bank, according to her daughter, Sharon Creekmore Mosley. The family-run farm market is a fixture of the Virginia Beach Farmers Market at the intersection of Princess Anne and Dam Neck roads.
Sharon Creekmore Mosley and her husband, Dion Mosley, co-owners of Creekmore’s Place at Virginia Beach Farmers Market, are contributing fresh produce to the food bank with the help of customers who drop loose change into either a donation jar or a change basket on either side of the retail counter in the store.
“It started with one of those ‘have a penny, leave a penny, need a penny, take a penny’ kind of things,” Sharon Creekmore Mosley said. “Then last year we started making donations to the food bank from the change people were dropping in.”
That change from sales of produce has added up.
“They’ve donated close to 1,200 pounds of food already this season,” said Bob Latvis, the executive vice president of operations and finance for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
This is particularly important, he added, because some of the food bank’s clients live in neighborhoods where there’s little access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Our primary goal is to get nurturing, healthy foods to communities most in need,” Latvis said, adding that it can be a 10-mile journey to a full-sized grocery store for some communities in the region. This is particularly problematic for people who depend on public transportation, he said.
“These are what’s called food deserts,” Latvis said, “and it disproportionately affects people of color.”
Sharon Creekmore Mosley said getting fresh items to the financially challenged is particularly important, and there are a lot of financially challenged people, particularly now because of the pandemic.
“So many people are hungry,” she said. “We wanted to do something so that we could help to feed someone. Our goal is to get fresh foods to the people who rely on the food bank. I don’t think that they get a lot of fresh vegetables.”
Produce is purchased from local farmers, many of whom give good deals because they know that it’s going to the food bank. So far this year, the produce has included sweet potatoes, squash, string beans, cucumbers and watermelons.
The clients are particularly happy to get the fresh foods, according to Latvis.
“We’ve had a phenomenal response,” he said.
The food bank also provides recipe cards and advice from a staff nutritionist.
“Our goal isn’t just to feed people, it’s the overall welfare of the people we serve,” Latvis said. “We’re excited to work with the Creekmores, and we’d like to reach out to any local farmers who would like to talk to us.”
The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore works with civic groups and faith-based organizations to distribute food at distribution sites in communities, but Latvis said donations have fallen since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sharon and Dion Mosley and other family members who work at Creekmore’s Place also hope to expand their contributions to include non-perishable items. They are offering a 5 percent discount to customers who bring in at least two canned food items on Mondays and Wednesdays.
For Sharon Creekmore Mosley, it’s all about helping the community and honoring their mother’s legacy.
“We do this in a humble way,” she said.
For more information about the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eadstern Shore, visit foodbankonline.org. Reach Creekmore’s place by telephone at (757) 427-0361.
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