Almost a quarter of a million people, 88,000 of those are children, in the 21 counties of the Diocese of Arlington are food insecure, meaning they do not know from where their next meal will be coming. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) St. Lucy Food Project is combining efforts with several, secular and church-based, rural food banks to reach the needy on the periphery of our Diocese.
Currently, the St. Lucy Food Project partners with Stafford Emergency Relief through Volunteer Efforts of Stafford County (S.E.R.V.E. Inc.), St. Anthony Mission in King George County, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Colonial Beach, and St. Paul Mission in Hague, Madison Emergency Services Agency in Madison County, Rappahannock Pantry in Rappahannock County, Congregational Community Action Project in Winchester City, and Page One Pantry in Page County. St. Lucy also added Restore Hope House in Strasburg this summer.
These relationships grew due to shared goals of developing awareness and sensitivity to food insecurity and encountering the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters through charity and sharing. St. Lucy Food Project provides donated food from its inventory to these organizations, which is transported by Knights of Columbus private vehicles and St. Lucy vehicles. The St. Lucy Food Project warehouse in Manassas plays a pivotal role as the distribution center.
“St. Lucy Project’s partnership with S.E.R.V.E. has been such a blessing for us! They have been so generous in providing foods of all kinds to our organization,” says Parker Weeks, the pantry manager at S.E.R.V.E., which provides non-perishable items and frozen meats to approximately 350 families in Stafford County every month. Similar to St. Lucy Food Project, they aid people and families of all ages and backgrounds.
The throughout the Gospels Jesus shares food, whether at meals with sinners, turning water into wine, multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish, or the Last Supper. In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus unambiguously states, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in (Matthew 25:35). The St. Lucy Food Project and its many partners are attempting to live these words by providing for all, especially the hungry.
Want to know how you can help? Look for the St. Lucy Food Project blue bags during your parish’s next food collection, volunteer at a warehouse or local pantry, plan a food drive yourself, or make single donations. For more information, contact St. Lucy Food Project, 703-479-2975.