We were the FIRST successful gun buyback event in the state of Virginia.
Groceries Not Guns is a gun buyback program that provides grocery gift cards in exchange for guns to be melted down and destroyed. The event is the fruit of tireless, diligent, nurturing efforts of many, including:
Decades of activism and organizing by the Blue Ridge Coalition Against Gun Violence to repeal Virgina state laws preventing effective gun buybacks,
Five years of requests from the Roanoke Branch NAACP for a buyback program, and
Roanoke City’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission’s call to community organizations to submit mini-grants focused on gun violence prevention and intervention programs for “youth and young adults that are collaborative in nature.”
The seed of Groceries Not Guns was planted in 2021 when grant writer Dr. Catherine Koebel (PhD) applied for a mini-grant for a gun buyback initiative. From there, the successful growth of Groceries Not Guns was the event's hybrid, collaborative nature, which brought together the strengths of the Roanoke Branch NAACP, the Roanoke City Gun Violence Prevention Commission, Roanoke City Police, and so many more in the inaugural event of August 2021.