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Make Donations of Healthy Food

This week, I want to take a break from writing about policy and make a short important announcement regarding a dire need in the Mount Vernon-Lee area. United Community Ministries (UCM), which operates a food pantry for residents in need, is having trouble filling its shelves due to overwhelming demand. The good news is that there are many ways we can help to meet this demand.

For example, there is a big community-wide effort, the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Drive that takes place over the next six weeks, and the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive hosted by the National Letter Carriers’ Association, takes place this Saturday, May 14.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the nation’s biggest single-day collection event and a great chance to help stock up the local food pantries for the summer months. Last year, UCM received more than five tons of food donations collected by the Letter Carriers’ Local Branch 567. Please fill and leave a bag of non-perishable food, such as pasta, canned fruit and vegetables, by your mailbox on Saturday, May, 14, and your letter carrier will pick up and deliver your donations to the food pantry.

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors effort is a community-led food drive by a West Potomac Junior, Will Shute, through St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He is looking for neighborhood volunteers to sign up and solicit food donations to be picked up or dropped off on a certain day, by June 30. I am proud that my 9th grade daughter is participating in this effort. Your high school student can get involved too, please email Will atMtVernonfooddrive@gmail.com.

Some of you may remember I sponsored a food drive for UCM throughout my 2015 campaign, and encouraged people to bring donations of canned food for UCM instead of campaign checks to my volunteer thank-you party last July. Folks were very generous and it was especially timely as once summer begins food is needed especially for those students that depend on the school lunch program for their main meal of the day.

The charity especially appreciates donations of heart-healthy food items, such as low-salt canned vegetables, low-sugar cereal and whole grain pastas.

I know that there are many other food drive efforts underway too in many of our neighborhoods and via our local faith community. It is truly rewarding to know that our community cares so much to make sure our neighbors who are struggling financially right now have healthy food to eat.

Thanks to many wonderful supporters throughout our community, UCM has served Mount Vernon and Lee since 1969, providing basic needs, counseling and assistance to families in crisis, workforce development services that help adults increase their employability, early childhood education and after-school enrichment programs for vulnerable youth, and the Back Porch Thrift Store for Mount Vernon and Lee area residents.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at delpkrizek@house.virginia.gov for more information.