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‘Share the wealth’ | Northern Virginia food pantry combats food insecurity in the DMV

The Arlington Food Assistance Center, a food pantry in Northern Virginia is assisting around 2,400 families every week who are experiencing food insecurity.

ARLINGTON, Va. — A sedan pulled up on the curb of a Giant grocery store in Arlington, Virginia Wednesday afternoon where a food drive was taking place for the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) in partnership with WUSA9. Out of the car walks two people, Teddy and Tricia both grinning from ear to ear.

“Share the wealth,” Tricia said. That was the short and sweet impact statement that brought them to the Arlington grocery store.

Teddy and Tricia didn’t grow up wealthy and they knew firsthand what it felt like to be in need of necessities. Both grew up with single moms raising large families. Tricia has three siblings and Teddy has two. Now they live in Falls Church, Virginia and have created a comfortable life for themselves in which they are in positions to give back to the community.

“We are well off enough. We are not rich but we’re not hungry,” said Tommy. “And we remember what it was like when we didn’t have food,” said Tricia.

RELATED: WUSA9 kickstarts food insecurity relief initiative | Giving Matters

Over the past few weeks, WUSA9 has partnered with multiple organizations in the DMV that have made it their mission to combat food insecurity. AFAC is serving the Arlington community to provide residents in need of food with a resource that will give them this necessity.

AFAC was created in 1988 and operates with the Choice Model which offers a choice to its clients when receiving food from the organization, according to AFAC’s website. The organization says this model can reduce food waste.

AFAC distributes food weekly and about 1/3 of its clients are children, according to its website. Additionally, for families to receive food from AFAC, they need to obtain a referral from an Arlington County government agency, a local church, school or social service agency, AFAC’s website states. 

The Arlington organization serves around 2,400 families weekly, according to Brian Reach, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for AFAC.

RELATED: Loudoun Co. food pantry combats food insecurity in the community with successful food drive

AFAC purchases about 40% of its food and about 60% comes from donations. according to Reach.

“We want to be there where people need us,” said Reach.

According to Capital Area Food Bank’s Hunger Report 2022, around 21% of people in Arlington experienced some form of food insecurity last year. About 14% of those people said they were food insecure and 7% stated they were severely food insecure.

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