A hunger hero from a past issue of our publication Harvest is making more positive moves on behalf of food-insecure neighbors. She once relied on food assistance herself and knows what it’s like to struggle with buying groceries. After her life improved, she decided to help others who continue to need food assistance. Robin Martin-Lawson, catering manager at Travinia restaurant in Charlottesville, is holding a fundraiser called “Feed the Team, Feed the Town.” Proceeds from Travinia’s special athletic menu will benefit the Food Bank by providing meals.
Crossing Over and Giving Back
A Food Bank Program Inspires a Hunger Hero
In Charlottesville, a single mom enjoys her role as catering manager for Travinia Restaurant. But times weren’t always easy for Robin Martin-Lawson. After her marriage ended, she found it hard to go from a two-earner household to being the primary provider for her two sons.
A layoff and an on-the-job injury also left her out of work for a while.
“I had a hard time finding another job,” said Martin-Lawson, who has a master’s degree. “I was either overqualified for available positions, or there were too many applicants for a limited number of openings.”
Before she began working for Travinia, Martin-Lawson relied on the Food Bank’s Family Backpack Program to make sure there was food on the table. She’s glad the program was there for her family when she needed it.
“This program allowed us to have food through the weekend and, in some cases, during the week,” she said.
Martin-Lawson served as a teacher and mental health professional before realizing the difference she could make in her community through catering and the restaurant business. Today, she not only manages catering but she’s also a member of the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce. She joined to advance Travinia’s community outreach goals.
“It’s been meaningful,” Martin-Lawson said. “Each person is put on the earth to make a difference somehow. I do what I love, and offer help.”
Last year, Travinia participated in Charlottesville’s bi-annual Restaurant Week, a culinary celebration that benefits the Food Bank. Martin- Lawson also planned a holiday food drive with participating stores within the Stonefield complex where Travinia is located. Her efforts have
helped raise awareness of hunger in the Blue Ridge area.
Could This Be You?
Clients turned advocates, volunteers, and supporters — we often receive donations from people who once relied on our services. Many individuals who join our cause do so because at one time they walked in the same shoes as our food-insecure neighbors.
Whether or not you’ve turned to a food pantry or food bank to get you through tough times, it’s not difficult to imagine how easily “that could be me.”
Will you match their generosity and join the fight against hunger?
Harvest, winter 2016, issue 1