Each year, the Student Council Association (SCA) hosts a food drive for Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). It may seem like it won’t matter, but the 527 cans they donated to the SCA this year really makes a difference.
“Hunger can affect anyone,” AFAC communications director, Jeremiah Huston said. All over Arlington, families are hungry, not knowing when they will get their next meal. They can fly under the radar, go unnoticed by their classmates and co-workers, but are noticed by AFAC, according to the Arlington Food Assistance Center website.
AFAC was founded in 1988 when six local churches put all of their food pantry resources together and decided to help all Arlingtonians in need. Now families can “shop” at the storage room every week for regulated foods as well as donations.
AFAC is an organization that works toward providing food for people in Arlington who may struggle to provide it for themselves. It is run by a group of volunteers and relies on donations of food and money to continue doing what they do for the community.
When shopping at the AFAC storeroom, families can pick from brand food items every week. Families get certain amounts of food allowed depending on how big the family is and how much money the family earns each month and year.
“AFAC serves about 2,300 families a week,” said Huston. This is a significant number, considering Arlington County’s population as of 2017 was 234,965 people.
The SCA recognizes the importance of food banks, so the food drive lasted for a few weeks around Thanksgiving so people could celebrate Thanksgiving with a real feast and so students can give,
When the SCA hosts the AFAC food drive, the food the school donates is included in the food families will be shopping from for the week. In fact, it can be the only food families get besides the food purchased by AFAC.
“The SCA wants to do something charitable and we knew that our community has the ability to give up a lot of goods and has a lot of resources they can give,” SCA senator Emilia Zapata said.
When donating food, AFAC prefers that people donate canned foods, especially canned soup, tuna and vegetables. They also like non-perishables such as peanut butter or cereal because they can last for weeks until AFAC needs them out on the ‘store’ floors.
“The food that is collected from your food drive goes to feeding our hungry Arlington neighbors in need,” Huston said.