Repurposing With A Purpose

August 11, 2023 | Published by Julie Buchanan

Henrico Community Food Bank Executive Director Sudeshna Das-Menezes (left) and Program Manager Lynn Williams.

What’s green, has two handles and is perfect for storing boxes, cans and jars?

The CVWMA recycling bin, of course!

The Henrico Community Food Bank is reusing 20 of the old bins to collect shelf-stable goods for its mobile food pantry.

Henrico County provided the containers, which were among those residents returned after the recent distribution of larger, wheeled recycling carts.

“We’ve been using the bins this summer for food drives out in the community,” Program Manager Lynn Williams said. “They are perfect for us — and they’re green, which is our color!”

Donations of shelf-stable foods are always needed.

The food bank began two years ago in the kitchen of founder Sudeshna Das-Menezes. With grassroots support from individuals, community groups and businesses, the food bank has blossomed into an active nonprofit. Volunteers deliver bags of shelf-stable and fresh foods to around 300 households per month.

The work is done out of Central Gardens, in the former MathScience Innovation Center — a space provided by Henrico County.

“We’re all about reusing and repurposing here,” said Williams, referring to the new use for the old building.

A community garden was planted with donations of soil from Walmart in Short Pump and mulch from Henrico County Recreation and Parks.

Plastic bottles are reused for irrigation in the herb garden.

Youth volunteers recently planted a community garden that will help supplement the food bank’s donations.

“There are so many people who need help,” she said.

For information about the Henrico Community Food Bank, visit

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