Peter Burnett’s Ampersand Pantry Project turns one! When Peter Burnett first started the Ampersand Pantry…
In the practice of personal injury law, it is legitimate to say that every week is a tough week. We are always helping people get through some of the most difficult times in their lives — dealing with car accident injuries, unexpected personal trauma, and even helping families navigate the aftermath of wrongful death accidents. It is never easy, and it is always important to bring care and attention to every client’s case, to work together to find the best way through to the other side.
Perhaps that’s why, when the 2020 pandemic hit, it was an easy pivot for the staff of Burnett & Williams to jump in and help address some of the most pressing needs in our local communities. For years we’ve been active in supporting efforts to address food insecurity. In the Richmond area we’ve supported Feedmore’s Community Kitchen and the Meals on Wheels program. In Loudoun County we’ve supported Ashburn Cares’ food drives, and even created our own Ampersand Food Pantry boxes to provide support to families in need. But this pandemic quickly created needs that overwhelmed the existing food aid systems, and we felt we had to do something to help.
In Northern Virginia and the greater Richmond area, our attorneys and paralegals jumped in to help find solutions. In Hopewell, attorney Jim Williams worked with a local Subway franchise to provide hundreds of free lunches to local residents. In Leesburg, we had the idea of helping struggling restaurants AND families in need by getting different restaurants to provide meals — all supported by community fundraising. Our intention was to help fill a gap for a few weeks until the pandemic got under control. Ten months later we’ve provided over 75,000 meals, thousands of diapers, and other necessities to thousands of families.
As the holidays approached, we decided to team up with other law firms to create a Santa’s Workshop to help buy presents for kids whose parents couldn’t afford them this year. We thought we’d reach a couple dozen families, but the community response was overwhelming and we ended up gathering over 2,000 presents for 400 kids from 137 families!
This was way beyond any community service effort we’ve ever done, and we couldn’t have done any of it without the relentless commitment of our staff, and the overwhelming support of our friends and neighbors.
It has become almost reflexive to say, “2020 was a horrible year.” But as we say goodbye to this year and look forward to a brighter 2021, we have to note that in some ways this past year has been one of the most gratifying ever for our firm. In 2020, we got to join with hundreds of supporters to use our skills in new ways and expand our impact for those in need. It has been amazing to see so many people join together to look out for each other and help their neighbor find a way through. So, as we say goodbye to 2020, we also say “thanks” for all we’ve learned, all we’ve accomplished, and all we’ve gained as a community.
Let’s keep it rolling in 2021 — Together.
Peter Burnett, Jim Williams
and the attorneys and staff or Burnett & Williams