The regional Catholic Charities St. Lucy Food Project has received a donation of 35,500 pounds of food from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered on a tractor trailer from Salt Lake City, Utah.
The donation, including much-needed items such as canned fruit and vegetables, flour, pasta, sauce, and beef stew, comes as the St. Lucy Food Project tries to respond to pantries experiencing an unprecedented number of requests from families seeking food assistance.
“Our mission is to help those who need assistance, to help them get over a hump. These days, during the pandemic, we also need help to reach this growing need,” said Art Bennett, president and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington.
The St. Lucy Food Project provides food to the community through its three Catholic Charities pantries— Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal, Christ House in Alexandria, and the Leesburg Regional Office in Leesburg—as well as some 60 rural and local pantries.
Since the onset of coronavirus, the food project has experienced a significant increase in people requesting assistance. In March, St. Lucy had a record-breaking month, distributing 58,700 pounds of food to its three pantries as well as to many local partners. Typical high points for distribution hit about 42,000 pounds of food in a month. The project has also been able to support its standard distribution into the rural areas around Warren County and the Northern Neck.
“The need is great within our communities. Our food pantries and our partners throughout the diocese are experiencing unprecedented growth in their distribution levels and pantry lines,” said Vince Cannava, program director and food source developer for the St. Lucy Food Project.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided items and volunteer support to numerous Catholic Charities’ programs at various times over the past eight years. The Latter-day Saints have also committed to donate another truck full of food in late May.
“As a faith-centric organization, we are focusing first on loving God and secondly on loving our neighbors,” said Robert Walter, president of the Centreville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “This is an opportunity for the church to share resources that we have."
Catholic Charities' St. Lucy Food Project warehouse is at 8426-28 Kao Circle in Manassas. Donations can be made at a “no contact” drop-off 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a secure food bin outside of the warehouse. To donate online, please visit https://secure.ccda.net/Give/Give/Donate/Giving.aspx. To learn more about ways to donate food throughout the diocese, visit https://www.ccda.net/give-help/donate-and-distribute-food/.