Thursday, March 1, 2012

We need your help to collect 125,000 pounds of food in just two weeks!

Best Blogger Tips
Guest Post by Teresa Volante, Parish Partners Program Manager

It’s not hard to find good people in the Archdiocese of Washington. I see and hear about so many inspirational ministries to the poor happening in parishes throughout Maryland and DC. There are clothing drives and Angel Trees, dinners for people who are homeless in our area, fundraisers and volunteer opportunities for local nonprofits, groups who give out emergency rental assistance and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable in their communities, and more. We are truly an Archdiocese that actively witnesses our faith through service, charity, and love.

This Lent, we’re harnessing that collective goodwill to work together towards one common goal: 125,000 pounds of food to stock up local pantries in our region through the annual Share in Hope Food Drive.

In 2008, Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, organized the first-ever archdiocesan-wide food drive in partnership with Catholic Charities as a welcoming honor to Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to Washington, D.C. We have continued this tradition each year since then, uniting 140 parishes and 98 schools to help end hunger in our community.

To date, the Share in Hope food drive has collected over 750,000 pounds of food to assist our neighbors who are hungry. Many parishes fill an entire room with their donations. This food goes to Capital Area Food Bank and stocks the shelves of more than 20 community food pantries, pantries that families depend upon when they hit hard times. Contributing to the drive is an easy, yet very powerful act – your donation, a simple bag of groceries, will ensure that someone who is hungry can have something to eat. 

This year’s Share in Hope Food Drive comes at a time when 20 percent of households with children in Maryland are facing food insecurity. In the District, that number jumps to 37.4 percent. Think about it: that means if there are 30 kids in your child’s class at school, up to 11 of them could be living in a home where a nice warm meal is no guarantee. Sadly, it is a living reality for many people, and one that brings a great deal of anxiety for parents who don’t know if they can feed their children tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day.

Our food drive collects healthy, nonperishable food items. Helping out is easy!

1) On your next trip to the supermarket, fill an extra bag with nonperishable food items to donate. To ensure pantries get stocked with enough variety of food, we’ve provided recommendations of what to buy based on the first letter of your last name (available here), though all donations are gratefully appreciated.

2) Bring all food donations to your local parish (there’s a handy directory here) by:
Sunday, March 4 for parishes in Northwest and Southwest DC and Montgomery County
Sunday, March 11 for parishes in Northeast, Southeast and Southwest DC, Prince George’s County, and Southern Maryland.

You can also ask at your parish or school if volunteers are needed to help counting or moving the food.

Thank you for helping Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Washington live out the Gospel through service to our most vulnerable neighbors.

Teresa is the Program Manager for Catholic Charities’ Parish Partners Program, which works with local parishes to enhance their community outreach and support their assistance to individuals in need. Learn more about Parish Partners here.

More Info:
Read more about the Share in Hope Food Drive in the latest Catholic Standard.
Questions? Check out the Share in Hope website or contact Teresa Volante at (301) 942-1790

Read On!