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Alexandria nonprofit combats growing food insecurity

ALIVE! gave away meals to hundreds of Virginia families Saturday morning
Credit: Zach Merchant

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A nonprofit in Alexandria gave away hundreds of meals Saturday morning to those in need.

Liza Feiler from ALIVE!, the nonprofit running the event, estimated about 500 families left with groceries from their Cora Kelly Elementary School pickup location.

Another site a few miles away served hundreds more.

The organization used to run food drives once per month but COVID-19 has increased demand. Since the pandemic hit, ALIVE! started running food giveaways two Saturdays each month.

"We have increased exponentially and the city has depended on us to help those in need," said Feiler.

Each family took home bags of food designed to last about a week. The goal, according to Feiler, was to send them home with food that could be used to make filling, healthy meals. Each family received chicken, fresh produce, bread, eggs, and canned goods.

ALIVE! doesn't just run food drives, either. The more than 50-year-old interfaith group operates a transitional housing program and also provides rent assistance to those who need it, according to Feiler and ALIVE!'s website.

For those looking to help, ALIVE! accepts volunteers and donations. According to their website, ALIVE! depends "greatly on our volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks such as food distribution and bagging, admin assistance, greeters, translators and food recovery."

Groups of volunteers from corporations, sports teams, and schools are also welcome.

The nonprofit was founded in 1969 with the goal of combating poverty in Alexandria, according to ALIVE!'s website. The group now includes 45 church congregations as well as other community organizations dedicated to that mission.

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