Types of Aid Available
To submit a Food Pantry order, click here.
To start an application for utility assistance, click here.
The RARA HelpLine provides temporary assistance with rent, utilities, heating fuel, or gas to families in Rockbridge County. In some instances RARA provides emergency shelter to transient families, as well as referrals to other help agencies. RARA does not cover assistance for the purchase of clothing, prescriptions, medications, or phone bills.
The HelpLine accepts applications by phone only, Monday – Thursday from 9:30am – 12pm, at (540) 463-6642. For “after hours” emergency assistance, contact the Police Department. Please note that it often takes 2 business days to help prevent a utility cut-off.
Families whose income is below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for assistance, and RARA never gives money directly to a client. Volunteers screen applicants to determine eligibility. RARA also serves as an intake and distribution agency for the EnergyShare program and partners with local churches to provide support screening emergency requests. In 2021, RARA assisted 870 households and, as an official EnergyShare partner, distributed $102,360 from the EnergyShare fund.
RARA’s Food Pantry is located at 350 Spotswood Drive in Lexington, VA (by Stonewall Jackson Hospital). The Pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 2:30 – 4:30pm and Saturday from 10am – 12pm. The Maury Express bus also stops at the Pantry at 2:50 and 3:50pm on weekdays and 10:50 and 11:50am on Saturdays.
The Food Pantry is run using a client-choice system: various canned goods, soups, cereals, pasta, etc. are placed on shelves, and clients choose items appropriate to their family size. Produce and meat are also available at every distribution. Clients whose health concerns require it may choose items for modified diets such as low sodium and low sugar options. Pantry visits are limited to once per week but RARA staff use discretion as needed to provide non-USDA food to someone who is requesting additional assistance or who exceeds the USDA financial eligibility criteria (150% of federal poverty level). In 2021, RARA served 3,506 individuals through the Food Panty.
As a member of Feeding America – the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity with a network of over 200 member food banks – RARA’s volunteers make weekly visits to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB) where they pick up USDA food and other items at a reduced price. Food is donated to RARA from a wide variety of sources, including from partnerships with local groceries. In 2019, RARA distributed over 284 tons of food.
Homelessness Prevention Program
As part of the Valley Homeless Connection Local Planning Group, we partner with area agencies to provide a Centralized Intake process for individuals and families facing a housing crisis. Call (540) 213-7347 to reach the Valley Housing Crisis Hotline. During your initial phone call, an Intake Counselor will talk with you and help you locate all the options available, no matter your situation. The Counselor will ask questions that will help to determine your eligibility for services offered by local agencies that might help with your particular case.
Holidays and Inclement Weather Notice
RARA is closed for New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and a couple weeks around Christmas. If we are closed for any other day, we will post signs on our doors and information on our Facebook page.
When there is inclement weather, the HelpLine and Food Pantry will be closed when Rockbridge County Schools are closed. If the school closure lasts more than one day, check our Facebook page.