Woman Helps Put Food On The Table For Virginia Immigrants

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By Newsy Staff
December 3, 2021

Natasha Lemus created a culturally-sensitive nutrient thrust aft seeing the request successful her Virginia community.

As portion of our Heart of the Holidays series, Newsy is sharing heart-warming stories each Friday that are worthy celebrating.

In Chesterfield County Virginia, a concern proprietor is present besides moving a nonprofit that's putting nutrient connected the array for migrant families successful need.

Natasha Lemus, a woman and parent of four, developed the accomplishment of uncovering nutrient for families successful request retired of necessity.

"I consciousness similar I americium advocating for a assemblage that has kept themselves soundless due to the fact that of fear," Lemus said.

She owns and operates a taxation concern successful northbound Chesterfield, Virginia, but the pandemic changed her life.

When agencies closed during the authorities shutdown successful 2020, Lemus kept her taxation bureau open, and she was busy.

"When the pandemic deed clients started calling the bureau asking for unemployment resources — nutrient resources, however to activate an EBT," Lemus said. "I couldn't conscionable beryllium astatine my table and not bash anything. Families were looking for food."

She recovered the resources to help.

"I was connecting them to truly large locations that were serving and doing nutrient drives," Lemus said. "But a mates of families came backmost and said, 'We are looking for much existent food,' and I asked, 'What is existent food?' They said, 'We request limes, caller produce, we request maize flour, conscionable beans.' So I looked astatine my squad astir maine successful my bureau and I said, 'Hey, you cognize what, let's bash a nutrient thrust to service the community, and let's link with section businesses."

The nutrient thrust gave nutrient that immigrants were accustomed to cooking, which Lemus says they'll really eat. The nutrient thrust yet evolved into thing bigger.

"It was a 1 time lawsuit and it became an mundane lawsuit due to the fact that we continued to person section enactment from the community," Lemus said.

She archetypal stored items astatine her office, past much radical came successful need. To conscionable the increasing demand, she established Waymakers Foundation — a non-profit that serves the migrant community.

"It was similar a burning passionateness successful my heart," Lemus said.

With her 4 taxation employees and a fewer volunteers, she utilized COVID alleviation dollars  and grants from different foundations to lease a new, larger, pantry space, with astir of its items purchased astatine a discounted terms from Feedmore oregon donated by backstage distributors.

They present provender 250 families a week and person endlessly ringing telephone lines, with Lemsu saying determination is ne'er capable to assistance everyone who asks.

"The request goes beyond what we tin do," Lemus said. "We request backing close present critically to proceed what we do."

She says the pantry is lone surviving period to month, but she has nary plans to springiness up.

 "Trust me, I cognize wherever I americium going, I conscionable request the support," Lemus said. "I tin spot Waymakers astatine a bigger determination doing bigger things."