Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (2700 19th Street S.) runs a food pantry which, once a week, provides a bag full of groceries. With Catholic churches in Arlington diocese no longer meeting on Sunday, Father Timothy Hickey sent a letter on Sunday the congregation said the situation with the food kitchen had become even more dire.
“The number of families we serve has increased every last few weeks, and we anticipate that it will only continue to grow,” Hickey said. “At the same time, with the private mass suspended, our contributions (both in cash and food) have greatly declined. Combine these two factors and it is not difficult to appreciate the challenges we face. “
“While everything else in our parish has declined and stopped during this pandemic, our entire parish leadership feels it is important to keep the Food Pantry open and continue to serve this community in need,” Hickey said. “We have small but strong staff and volunteers who are committed to maintaining this service to the best of our ability.”
Hickey said there were three ways to contribute to the food kitchen.
Monetary donations can made online. General donations will include food pantry as well as money to pay church staff salaries, but there are also options to only contribute to the pantry.
Food can also be dropped at the shelter. Hickey said a trash bin would be placed behind the church from 10am to 1pm. Monday to Friday. There is also a list of certain foods requested to be donated:
- 1 bag of rice, any size (the bigger one will be divided into 1 pound
- 1 bag of dried beans, 1 pound. or two cans of beans (preferably black, pinto or small red beans)
- 1 pack of long or short pasta
- 1 bottle of approx pasta sauce. 24 ounces (whatever tastes good)
- 1 box of low-sugar cereals (eg Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Cheerios)
- 1 can of corn approximately. 16 ounces
- 1 can of green vegetables, approx. 16 ounces (e.g. Green beans, sweet peas)
- 1 can of fruit in a mild syrup or juice itself
- 2 cans of tuna or tuna wrap in water or oil
- 1 bottle of oil, 48 ounces.
- 1 bag of Tortimasa (without corn flour)
The church, in the Green Valley neighborhood in Arlington, also asked for help from volunteers to help divide food into smaller portions for individual shopping bags.
For this purpose, the following are our current voluntary needs.
- 2 Food Source Volunteers – These volunteers will call up a list of stores and other food sources (eg Costco, BJ’s, Restaurant Depot) every week to determine which Pantri Food items are needed in inventory. Eventually, these volunteers will come up with shopping lists and locations for voluntary food buyers. Because so many stores are out of stock, the ideal volunteer for this role will have a lot of patience and persistence. When Packages A, B, and C are unsuccessful because the store cannot meet the demand, we look for creative and resourceful personalities who succeed in finding out the plan even if it means switching to Plans X, Y and Z. The ideal volunteer for this role can be committed for outreach on a weekly or weekly basis until mid-June.
- 4 Bulk Food Buyers – For this role which involves accepting grocery lists and completing grocery shopping for bulk goods, ideal volunteers will have large cars, can carry heavy items in large quantities and will be able to commit to weekly shopping or run weekly through mid-June.
- 1 Volunteer Signage – Are there novice artists among us? Signs are needed to clearly mark bins where direct donations will be received. This is a short-term and urgent need. Might be ideal for one of our Religious Education families?
- 1 Admin Assistant – This ideal volunteer is someone with strong computer skills to help manage various aspects of this effort such as making a list of volunteers, organizing team calls, and various other simple items that emerge. Ideally you will be able to commit until mid-June.
“Only with your generosity can we continue to help increase their food needs,” Hickey said, “especially in this time of crisis.”
Photo via the Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
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