Leesburg Attorney Peter Burnett has decades of experience finding creative ways to improve Loudoun’s safety net services. His latest venture launched today as a drive-through meal service.
The Ampersand Pantry Project started in February as a community donation box on the Crossroads Baptist Church property along Edwards Ferry Road where neighbors could pick up or leave donations of food, staples and other important supplies like diapers.
With the serious economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic response, Burnett sought to expand that program, maybe with a food truck operation. Then, as the founder of Loudoun Cares sometimes does, he went bigger.
Burnett owns the former Leesburg Tastee Freez building on East Market Street, where redevelopment plans have stalled. And the building’s drive-through window seemed like a great opportunity to offer meal service while adhering to important social distancing requirements. A makeshift roller belt to slide the meals from the store window to the car window bolsters that safety measure.
Next, he was off to visit with restaurant owners and other food service providers to secure donations.
Starting today at 11:30 a.m.—and continuing every day at 11:30 a.m.—the window opened to provide free meal packets to anyone who drove up. On the menu Thursday included subs provided by Said Mehenni of Solo NY Pizza.
The meal service will continue each day as long as supplies last. Burnett hopes to provide 100 to 200 meals each day. On Friday, Lesle Lowry of Lowry’s Crab Shack in Hamilton will be making contributions and on Saturday, Azmi Zarou of Spanky’s Pub will kick in.
Burnett said success of the project will hinge on food donations and tax-deductible contributions from the community at large. The Ampersand Pantry Project is a 501(C)(3) charity. Tax deductible contributions may be mailed to 105 Loudoun Street SE, Leesburg, VA 20175 or dropped off in the donation box at the meal site, located on East Market Street just across from the McDonalds.