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DC area agencies help battle food insecurity as inflation increases

A Fairfax County church teamed up with the organization 'Food for Others' to provide families in need with meal staples Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — As inflation batters the US economy, some local agencies are doing all they can to help people who are food insecure.

On Wednesday, New Heaven New Earth Church partnered with the organization, Food for Others, to assist families who are food insecure in Fairfax County.

“Every week, lines are reaching the end of the parking lot,” said Food for Others employee Steven Claros.

Volunteers handed out food supplies to families in need and satellite donors from Food for Others’ location on Prosperity Avenue. The effort comes as the cost of basic meal staples in the United States continues to explode.

The Consumer Price Index shows the price of eggs is up more than 20% compared to a year ago. Dairy products are also up about 9%, government data shows.

“You stop for gas and it's another $20 more, right? And, that hurts,” said Keegan Deburgh, of New Heaven New Earth Church. “But, for someone who might be food insecure to begin with, or might be in between jobs, or struggling with some kind of situation, or have an unexpected medical bill, that little bit of extra cost hurts way more.”

Food insecurity is not isolated to Virginia. According to the Capital Area Food Bank’s 2021 Hunger Report, food scarcity has become more widespread across the DC region. The report also shows Black and Brown people are disproportionately affected by the issue.

In D.C., government data shows one out of every ten people in the District is food insecure.

Meanwhile, one Maryland community has continued to fight food insecurity with the same, effective strategy it took up during the peak of the coronavirus in 2020.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks developed the “Stand Up and Deliver” program in her community in collaboration with local non-profits, restaurants, and churches.

The program provides residents in need free groceries, in various locations across the county, on a daily basis.

“The sites are based off of census tract data,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ communications director Gina Ford. “So, we go to the locations where we know the need is greatest.”

Ford said Prince George’s residents in need can find the daily locations for Stand Up and Deliver, every week, on the county executive’s social media pages.

“[The County Executive] recognized that there were quite a few of our residents who are experiencing food insecurity,” she said. “And, so, as a result, that program has been operational over the last two years almost continuously. And, we provide, each week, the locations of all the food distribution sites, where residents can go and get a combination of hot meals as well as box groceries.”

Over at Food for Others, employees acknowledge some people may feel ashamed to ask for help. However, Food for Others Warehouse Manager Leo Delgado said no one in need should feel shame at all.

More than a decade ago, he came to Food for Others for assistance. Now, Delgado works with them to help others in the community.

“Poverty doesn't discriminate,” he said. “It affects everybody in every community.”

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