AFAC has issued an urgent request to the community to donate much needed food for the low-income families they serve. Arlington Food Assistance Center had been serving 2,400 families providing 80,000 pounds of supplemental food assistance in a normal week. That number climbed to 2,885 in mid March. Now it has grown even higher as a result of the growing number of families now out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Forty percent of that food is donated from food drives and grocery store donations.
AFAC has asked for contributions of cereal, canned vegetables, tuna, tomato products, and soups. Jeremy Huston, Assistant Director of Communications at AFAC says, “sticking to these categories helps us when making uniformed bags for our families.” He says the menu is now pre-bagged for the families so they can go through lines faster. Families get fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, a frozen protein, canned items, pasta, rice, beans, peanut butter, and oatmeal. Donations of clean fresh produce are now welcome but in a size that will fit in a plastic bag and is easily recognizable for families such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans and carrots.
Huston says a number of donation sites have recently closed due to the closure of public facilities but a number of popup food drives have been organized by civic associations and neighborhoods, individuals in their own driveways. For instance, last week 4,508 pounds was collected at six community centers and the Central library combined.
Paulus Faracon, a student at Bishop O’Connell, has organized a food drive in his neighborhood through pamphlets, NextDoor, and a note on the front door inviting people to drop off food supplies. Sacks full of groceries are already crowding the house. He says he is willing to pick up the donations left on your doorstep on Wednesday or Thursday or have them dropped up at his house at 6628 Williamsburg by Friday, April 17 when he will deliver the donations to AFAC.
There are 10 Crystal City locations still available as well as AFAC warehouse at 2708 S. Nelson Street, Arlington Church of the Brethren at 300 N. Montague Street and Fairlington Villages Management Office at 3001 S. Abingdon Street. The annual food budget has gotten a boost from individual and corporate donations, foundations and Arlington County.
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