This op-ed was submitted by Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik on May 19. It does not reflect the opinions of Tysons Reporter. We publish op-eds and letters to the editor of specific interest to the Tysons community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.
The people of Fairfax County are strong and resilient, more than ever during this time of COVID-19. When I speak with community members, one common question comes up: “How can I help?” Wash your hands. Social distance. Then, help feed your neighbor.
Food insecurity is on the rise. During a recent two-week period, the Capital Area Food Bank reported a demand increase of 300% compared to the same period last year. There are 70,000 families living in poverty in Fairfax County. We need to address this problem, for access to food is a human right.
I’m calling on the Providence District to reach into your pantry or grocery cart to buy a can, give a can, and donate to Food for Others. We can tackle food insecurity in our area together at home and online.
Food for Others, located in Merrifield, is a hub that supplies food to more than 2,000 families every week. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, three times more families have relied on Food for Others to feed their households. This is why I have partnered with Food for Others and neighborhoods in our district to start local food drives. You can help.
Start organizing! You can take action by reaching out to your homeowners’ association or community organization to help set up a neighborhood food drive. Establish a drop off location and spread the word to your neighbors. Organize volunteers to pick up the canned goods and produce to deliver to Food for Others.
We can help! Contact our team at [email protected] and we can work with you to organize a safe and engaging food drive that fits your community.
Canned chili, canned chicken, canned fruit, rice, spaghetti sauce, cardboard boxes and fresh produce are some of the items most in demand. If you are fortunate to have a home vegetable or herb garden, plant an additional row and donate your fresh produce to Food for Others. Your neighbors in need will thank you!
The Providence District has made so much progress already. The Falls Hill and Miller Heights organizations have each collected 800 pounds of food, and many other communities in our district have donated hundreds of pounds of food. I can’t wait to see how big this effort can grow.
Let’s join forces and fight this battle against hunger together. I am so proud of the work the Providence District has already done to help one another. There is more work to be done to bring food security to our neighbors in need. I thank you for your help.