The Arlington County Police Department is holding its third annual “Fill the Cruiser” drive later this week.
On Friday (May 20) from 4-6 p.m., police cruisers will be stationed at the Giant store on 2901 S. Glebe Road in Long Branch Creek and at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center on 5335 Langston Blvd to collect non-perishable food items and diapers of all sizes.
FRIDAY: Join ACPD during the 3rd Annual Fill the Cruiser drive in support of @AFACfeeds and @DoorwaysVA. This year, in addition to non-perishable food items, officers will also be collecting diapers of all sizes.
Event details: https://t.co/4Ug9KCvgvN pic.twitter.com/QnulmEgz3g
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) May 17, 2022
Those items will be donated to local nonprofits Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and Doorways.
While the cruisers and AFAC will accept most unopened, unexpired, and unprepared foods, including some perishable items, the organization is most in need of food that’s low in sodium, fat, and sugar.
- Low sodium canned tomatoes
- Low sodium canned tuna
- Low sodium canned soups
- Canned vegetables
- Peanut butter (in plastic jars)
- Low sugar cereal
- Cooking oils
The hope is still to collect “a couple thousand pounds of food,’ says AFAC’s Associate Director of Communications Jeremiah Huston, with Arlington residents still very much in need.
When a “Fill the Cruiser” food drive took place earlier in the pandemic in 2020, the number of Arlington families in need of food assistance was record-breakingly high. That year, AFAC was serving upwards of 3,400 families a month.
AFAC is still serving more than 3,000 families every month, 80% of whom rely on free grocery every week, notes Huston.
“We’re not far from the record high numbers we saw in 2020 and we expect the number of families served will continue to rise steadily as it has since the start of the new year,” Huston tells ARLnow. “With the increase in gas and food prices, we have seen many of our families accessing AFAC services more frequently. Those already struggling to pay their bills are the ones hit hardest by inflation and supply chain shortages.”
Huston also said that inflation and high food prices are impacting AFAC’s ability to purchase fresh foods, so donations are needed now as much or more than prior years.
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