FALLS CHURCH, VA — As food assistance needs increase during the new coronavirus crisis, the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington is hosting contact-free food drives at parishes in Northern Virginia.
The food drives support St. Lucy Food Project, which distributes food through three Catholic Charities pantries: Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal, Christ House in Alexandria, and the Leesburg Regional Office in Leesburg. The project also supports efforts at 60 parishes, interfaith communities, and community and government pantries within the Arlington Diocese.
While St. Lucy Food Project normally distributes up t0 42,000 pounds of food a month, March was a record-breaking month with 58,700 pounds of food distributed. Catholic Charities attributes the increase to increasing needs from its three pantries and local partners.
"The number of families we are seeing who need food assistance has increased rapidly as we respond to the pandemic," said Art Bennett, president and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. "Our mission is to help our neighbors, and to do so safely. These drive-thru food drives are designed to ensure the safety of food donors and recipients, as well as our staff and volunteers."
The drive-thru donation option kicked off Friday, April 24 St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Springfield. At that site alone, nearly 7,000 pounds of food were collected within four hours.
Catholic Charities has identified examples of non-perishables needed as donations: canned fruits and vegetables, boxed or bagged cereal, rice and pasta, pasta sauce, cooking oil, bread, non-refrigerated juice, peanut butter, and canned fish like tuna or salmon. If a person cannot donate good in person, online donations support purchases and delivery of food to those in need.
Friday food drop-offs are available at these locations and times:
- Friday, May 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1020 Springvale Road, Great Falls, VA 22066
- Friday, May 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 12805 Valleywood Drive, Lake Ridge, VA 22192
- Friday, May 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church, 5222 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, VA 22032
- Friday, May 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - St. James Catholic Church, 905 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA 22046
- Friday, May 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 4100 Mill Creek Road, Haymarket, VA 20169
- Friday, June 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - St. Joseph Catholic Church, 750 Peachtree Street, Herndon, VA 20170
- Friday, June 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 7600 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield, VA 22152