Taking Care of Business, and Community

“It’s a different day today than it was a year ago,” said Kim Hill, CEO of Chesterfield Food Bank. The food bank has expanded to feed 30,000 families a month during the COVID-19 pandemic – three times as many as last year. It’s also a different day for Jacob, a graduate of our Dooley School who is now employed at the Food Bank after several years of volunteer service.

Villa families are now among those being served by Chesterfield Food Bank, thanks to Jacob’s initiative to form a partnership.

“I came to the Villa after graduating just to visit, and I saw the food pantry was running low on groceries,” said Jacob. “I talked to Ms. Kim to see how we could help. The Villa was there for me and had my back when I needed it, so I wanted to pass it on.”

Jacob said his experience at Dooley School and support from the Villa’s Career and Transition Services (CATS) helped him become more independent, stay consistent in his behaviors, and build work ethic.

“I didn’t know where I would be in the next year or so when I first came to the Villa. I thought I might go back to an institutional facility, or be locked up again. Now I’m a stronger person.”

CATS assisted Jacob throughout his application and interview process. Today, he is building job skills working in the Food Bank warehouse while making a difference in his community. He stocks shelves, handles shipping and receiving, makes sure vehicles are cleaned between trips, and is continuing to take on new roles. Recently he became certified to operate a forklift.

“When Jacob first came to the Food Bank, I could really tell he had a lot of aspirations, and a lot of things he wanted to do,” said Kim. “I think we are an extension of his growth that the Villa already started. Day by day he is changing and making good life decisions.”

CATS makes contact-free food deliveries to nearly 50 Villa families throughout Central Virginia each week. Partners like Chesterfield Food Bank have been essential to keeping our Villa Grocery stocked for families facing food insecurity in these uncertain times, and in Jacob’s case, providing a supportive environment where our students’ abilities can truly shine.

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