Help Close ‘Meal Gap’

Help Close ‘Meal Gap’

Volunteer with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Combine passions for cooking, nutrition, social justice; apply to be a Master Food Volunteer by Aug. 27.

More than 17,000 Arlingtonians are food insecure.

One in 10 Alexandria City households and more than 58,000 residents in Fairfax do not have reliable access to nutritious,affordable food.

The Master Food Volunteer (MFV) program with the Virginia Cooperative Extension(VCE) is working to close this "meal gap." VCE is part of the

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) collective that brings the resources of land-grant universities into communities across the country.

“MFVs are educators at the intersection of food and social justice, and we need many more volunteers to help make a positive and lasting impact in our community,” said Jennifer Abel, senior extension agent for Arlington and Alexandria. Abel helped bring the program to the Washington region.

Modeled after the Master Gardeners, the MFV program trains any adult with an interest in cooking, nutrition, food safety, and helping others. Once trained, MFVs share their knowledge by educating seniors; EBT, WIC, and food pantry recipients; and other adults and children in underserved populations as well as the general public in Northern Virginia.

All information is up-to-date and research based. MFVs receive roughly 30 hours of training which is reciprocated with 30 hours of volunteer work in the first year following the training.

Interested adults may apply via

The fall training session in Arlington will be offered every Friday in October (5, 12, 19, and 26) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center at 3308 Stafford Street South. All four training sessions are required to complete the training, which prepares volunteers to assist with programs in Alexandria City and Arlington and Fairfax counties.