Last Sunday, November 9th, members of the Spark community donated their time to help the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).
AFAC is a critical part of the wellness of our community, although many Arlingtonians don’t even know it exists. However their behind-the-scenes presence shouldn’t suggest anything about their impact. Because of immensely thoughtful individuals and businesses in the area, AFAC collects thousands of pounds in food donations each week. Foods range from canned beans to gourmet soups; fresh leafy greens to massive sweet potatoes; and plain rice to decadent cakes on occasion. Donated food often comes straight from the gardens of individuals or gleaned from leftovers at farmers’ markets; or local grocers donate when the expiration date is nearing instead of simply throwing it out. This means that the approximate 4 out of 10 Arlington residents in the $60,000 and under income group, experiencing food insecurity, can have access to a wide-variety of items that will support a balanced, healthy and wholesome diet.
In fact, according to a 2012 study conducted in collaboration between AFAC, Virginia Tech’s Center for Survey Research (CSR) and Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP), as many as 31,500 individuals fall into that category in Arlington alone. Although Arlington and its surrounding areas are home to some of the wealthiest individuals and businesses in the country, there is another side to the community that we refuse to overlook.
And we had tons of fun picking through the bountiful produce on Sunday! Hundreds of pounds of leafy greens came into the warehouse from local farmers’ markets. We also found some impressive Daikon radishes the weight of a “medium-size child” as Jenna put it…
AFAC offers many opportunities for community members to get involved!
Bagging is incredibly helpful because it funnels food donations into smaller portions, which can then be easily distributed to patrons and allows for the overall efficiency of the AFAC operation. Shifts usually take no more than two hours and are offered on weekdays, nights, and weekends.
Food distribution is a great way to hit the streets and mingle with the population being served. Shifts usually last half a day. Food drives are another great way to serve this community!
Spark Yoga is also hosting its own food drive to be donated to AFAC during the week of Thanksgiving. Be sure to bring any non-perishable items to be left in bins at our studio—we will take care of the rest! Check the website here [http://www.afac.org/food-drive/] for an AFAC wish list.
Check out more ways to volunteer your time here.
If you want to be a part of our Spark Your Impact volunteerism, we’re happy to have you! Our volunteer outreach is open to ALL members of the Spark community—staff and students alike. Check our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming opportunities with AFAC and other organizations.
We have the cause, you have the impact.