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Arlington Food Assistance Center

Volunteers+and+workers+pose+in+front+of+the+AFAC+truck.+
Volunteers and workers pose in front of the AFAC truck.

Volunteers and workers pose in front of the AFAC truck.

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Volunteers and workers pose in front of the AFAC truck.

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Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) located in Arlington, Virginia, was founded over 25 years ago as a way to help end hunger in the county. AFAC’s mission is to provide supplemental groceries to Arlington neighbors in need. The organization provides free of charge meals to Arlington residents who have food insecurity, which is when a person does not have a healthy and stable food supply. Despite Arlington’s status as one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, these insecurities affect a large portion of residents.

In 2012, AFAC teamed up with the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) and Virginia Tech’s Center for Survey Research (CSR) to determine how many residents were in need of assistance. According to the information gathered, about four in 10 Arlington residents with a yearly income of $60,000 or less are not able to get the proper amount of food. At the time of the survey, Arlington had about 75,000 residents within that income threshold. With that being said, 42 percent of those residents could not maintain a stable eating habit.

To an outsider, Arlington may not seem to have an issue with food security. However, the living costs along with economic instability can lead to many families struggling to obtain enough money to make ends meet for basic needs like food. “I love volunteering at AFAC. It always makes me feel good to give back to the community,” said freshmen Iman Abdellatif, “It is really cool how just an hour of volunteer work can change someone’s year or even life.”  The groceries that AFAC provides to the families could make the difference of families being able to remain in their houses, keeping their jobs and even kids being able to focus on their education. This allows the people in need of assistance to make other needed purchases without having to cut out their food or nutritional needs.

Arlington has continued to grow in population throughout the years; in 2013 there were an estimated 379,577 residents residing within the county borders, roughly four thousand more than the previous year. More people moving into Arlington means that more people will need the help of AFAC. According to their website, afac.org, their mission is to “provide supplemental groceries to our Arlington neighbors in need.” Over 25 years after its founding, AFAC still has the same mission as it did when the doors first opened, obtaining and distributing groceries free of charge to people who cannot afford to meet basic needs. The non-profit organization even provides options for their clients to choose from, including foods such as meat, milk, desserts, vegetables, and fruits, which can affect how a person lives their life. “The community is so lucky to have AFAC around because they have changed so many lives within it for the better,” Abdellatif said.

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
Arlington Food Assistance Center