As the COVID crisis and resultant economic downturn roll on, the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) is continuing its expansion efforts to ensure it has the ability to meet future needs of the community.
Next up: Renovation of a newly acquired warehouse space at 2704 South Nelson St. next to the AFAC headquarters in the Four Mile Run corridor.
“The warehouse needs extensive renovation,” said Charles Meng, executive director and CEO of the social-safety-net provider. “To allow quick renovation . . . we are leasing the building on the other side of the warehouse at 2702 South Nelson. This leased space will serve as a temporary warehouse during the renovation.”
The proposal to occupy the space at 2702 South Nelson shortly will come before the Arlington County Board, because the Arlington government has an option to acquire the space AFAC wishes to occupy and must agree to the planned lease.
Under the current plan, AFAC would lease the 2702 South Nelson space through next May, with an option to continue occupancy on a month-to-month basis afterward.
Once all the pieces of the development-and-renovation puzzle fall into place, the organization will have what it needs, Meng said.
“The renovation of the warehouse will permanently secure for AFAC all of the necessary space we need to operate long into the future, add new refrigeration space to hold larger amounts of food supplies – particularly fresh produce – and increase our capacity to serve a larger number of families who are food-insecure,” he told the Sun Gazette.
Founded three decades ago in the basement of Clarendon Methodist Church with the support of six local religious congregations, AFAC has grown to serve more than 5,000 families per week in recent months – up 33 percent from pre-COVID levels. The number of families receiving referrals from social-service agencies (a prerequisite for receiving AFAC assistance) has grown 45 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
AFAC moved into its existing South Nelson Street facility in 1996. After more than a decade as a renter, the organization purchased the building in 2008 and proceeded to pay off the mortgage within a few years. Several years ago, the building underwent a major refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards.
Donations of food can be dropped off weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the AFAC warehouse on South Nelson Street. To meet increasing needs, AFAC is offering a number of drop-off boxes for non-perishable donations of food. They include:
• 3409 North Albemarle St.
• 4040 Wilson Apartments & Condominiums (through Nov. 16).
• Arlington Church of the Brethren, 300 North Montague St.
• Berkeley Condominium, 1000 North Randolph St. (monitored by Bob Johnson Realty).
• Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 745 23rd St. South.
• Continental Condominium, 851 North Glebe Road (monitored by Bob Johnson Realty).
• Fairlington Villages Management Office, 3001 South Abingdon St., weekdays.
• Iverson Orthodontics, 5401-B Lee Highway (through Dec. 16).
• Kinder Haus Toys, 1220 North Fillmore St. (daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
• Lubber Run Farmers’ Market, 4401 North Henderson Road (Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through Nov. 21).
• MadLash, 4805 Eisenhower Ave., Suite B, Alexandria (through Nov. 22).
• Notch 8 Apartments, 2900 Main Line Blvd., Alexandria (through Nov. 24).
• Our Savior Lutheran Church, 825 South Taylor St.
• Pentagon Mixed Martial Arts, 1041 South Edgewood St. (through Nov. 30).
• Skills on the Hill Pediatric Therapy, 2301 Columbia Pike, Suite 125 (through Nov. 16).
• St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcom Lane.
• Village Sweet Bakery, 5872 Washington Blvd. (Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon).
• Walker Chapel United Methodist Church, 4102 North Glebe Road (Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m.).
For information, see the Web site at www.afac.org.
[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]