The Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV)’s Initiative, Thrive, held its NRV Regional Meeting at the Historical Smithfield Plantation on October 20th.

NRV Thrive works to collectively increase access to affordable, nutritious food in the NRV through shared learning, informed advocacy, and responsive, strategic action. Since 2016, the network has drawn together several agencies and individuals to expand access to nutritious food. Many of the organizations who are involved in the work of Thrive attended the regional meeting, and many success stories of the network were shared.


The Giles Community Garden was started in 2014. It helps children understand where food comes from and how to enjoy it. The mission of the Giles Community Garden is to nourish, educate, and cultivate community. Charlie Herbert, who is a founding member of both the Giles Community Garden and Thrive shared his appreciation of the network. “The CFNRV has been instrumental in facilitating the Thrive/Food Access Network to support nutrition & health in the New River Valley. Since 2016, they have drawn together dozens of agencies and over 200 people to expand access to nutritious food. Thrive proves the power of working together can make an impact in our region – we are better together, and we are making a difference.”

Not far from the Giles Community Garden, is the 512 Food Pantry. 512 Food Pantry opened in April 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic They were able to use the Thrive network, and many of the agencies within it to operate. They receive food from the Giles Community Garden, Hunters for the Hungry, and NRV Glean Team, just to name a few of the agencies within the NRV Thrive network. They have a client select model and were able to increase their capacity. 512 used the model that Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry uses, which is also engaged in the work of Thrive.

Volunteers work together to transport fresh food from pantry to pantry when one has an abundance, and another is running low. By working together, helps ensure that more fresh food is available, and less food is wasted. The work of the Thrive network caught one business owner’s eye. During June, the CFNRV holds its annual GiveLocalNRV giving campaign. The Maroon Door in Blacksburg brewed a special beer in honor of the giving day and gave back nearly $900 to the campaign. When Chris Linden, owner of Maroon Door was browsing the CFNRV’s website, he came across information on the Thrive network. In honor of his grandfather, he decided to dedicate the Orville’s TB burgers on the menu to fighting hunger in the region and giving back to Thrive. This burger is a take on a burger that Liden’s grandfather had when had a restaurant in the same space years ago. Each month The Maroon Door donates hundreds of dollars towards the Thrive network’s mission. Thanks to that, the network was able to have this critical meeting in the fall of 2021. Linden shared “we are happy to support the work of Thrive in the NRV. My grandfather was passionate about fighting hunger, and giving back is one small way to honor his memory and make an impact here in the New River Valley.” The next time you are in The Maroon Door, be sure and ask about Orville’s TD Burger so that you can be a part of this critical work.

If you work with a food distribution organization or church and would like to join the Thrive Network for fresh food, please contact the CFNRV office at 540-381-8999.

Thrive Network attendees.