Bob Blair and the Volunteer Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley serve the hungry by providing nutritious, homegrown fruits and vegetables fresh from the farm. Plagued by the weak economy, the need in the community is great.
"We have an awful lot of people — hundreds of thousands of people who are 'food insecure,' meaning they don't know where their next meal is coming from," Blair told ABC News. "And that's a scary feeling if you're one of those people."
Children constitute roughly a third of the food bank's clientele, with the elderly, disabled and poor making up the remainder.
Though Blair bought his farm intending to grow Christmas trees, he had an epiphany five years ago to grow nutritious food for those who need it.
"I had no idea how to be a vegetable gardener or a farmer," Blair said. "But [I was] smart enough to ask questions of the right people."
Roughly 2,300 volunteers from every state and 25 countries helped plant, weed and harvest 40,000 pounds of produce last year.
The harvesting starts in early June, focusing mainly on peas and onions. Once the picking is done, the local food bank comes to retrieve the bounty and brings it to the distribution center and then to a soup kitchen to be cooked and served the same day.
"The truck'll go to the Blue Ridge area food bank in Winchester [Va.], and tonight those peas will be on the plates of people at the Salvation Army," Blair said.
Since the last harvest, the food bank has seen a 30 percent increase in need due to a flailing economy and rising food prices, Blair said. He plans to plant 12 additional acres and is searching for twice as many volunteers to ensure that everyone gets his share of nutritious food.
Blair and his volunteers are driven by pure generosity. "It's 'love thy neighbor,'" he said. "There is no other motivation — perhaps, no better motivation."