A new coalition will tackle how Arlington nonprofits and county government distribute food and support people who are food insecure.
The group held its kick-off meeting at Central Library last week, attended by 65 people. It will be focused on three areas: improving food access, increasing outreach to the community and making systemic change through policy advocacy.
The coalition “creates the infrastructure to systematically monitor the needs of Arlington’s food security system, allowing us to not only act more quickly when greater need arises, but also to identify and rectify systemic challenges earlier,” says County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who campaigned in 2018 on ending child hunger by 2022.
Although considered one of the wealthier localities in the D.C. area, several thousand Arlingtonians do not have consistent access to healthy meals and pantry and fridge staples. Arlington has historically supported these individuals through a patchwork quilt of nonprofit grocery and meal distribution programs, while county staff processed food stamp applications and Arlington Public Schools provided free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.
That began to change when Arlington County hired a food security coordinator, Stephanie Hopkins.
“My job is to look at the bigger picture,” she tells ARLnow. “One of the things I found when I started was that there wasn’t a good centralization of resources. Arlington Food Assistance Center and smaller churches each promoted their services, while the county promoted its programs, but there wasn’t a list of everything that’s available.”
The first step, says de Ferranti, was hiring Hopkins to get a better baseline of food assistance needs in Arlington. She worked with the Urban Institute to release a study on food insecurity and stood up a task force — comprised of food pantries, community leaders, and school and county staff — to develop a strategic plan to address hunger over the next five years.
“A lot of folks worked adjacent to each other, knew each other, but had few opportunities to work together,” she said. “Through this process, they made friendships and professional relationships where now, if they need something, they call each other.”
But still, Covid and inflation have interrupted this work, de Ferranti acknowledged.
“There has been progress, with a couple of more food service sites that help children, but we have much, much more to do on the goal of ending child hunger in Arlington,” he said. “I am committed to that work and will work with APS, the School Board, and Bethany Sutton in particular on child hunger.”
The coalition is tasked with implementing the strategic plan, which was released in October 2022. By January 2024, Hopkins says she aims to have at least one new food distribution location, at least one new tool for committing resources to residents and more accurate data on meal and grocery distribution trends.
Improving access could include encouraging more organizations that conduct food rescues, particularly from retail, catering and hotels, Hopkins said, pointing to an organization that rescues food from universities and is looking to reboot a chapter at Marymount University.
“For a lot of people, they don’t have time to prepare food, so having a prepared meal is really helpful,” she said.
Improving outreach could look like training school- or nonprofit-based social workers to help families navigate food assistance applications.
Systemic change — a focus for de Ferranti — means “greater access to SNAP and other public assistance, new service delivery paths, and a much greater focus on equity,” he said.
Hopkins added that such change could also mean expanded eligibility for free school meals or free public transit for low-income people.
The work comes at a critical moment for people making ends meet with food stamps. Next month, pandemic-era emergency allotments will end, meaning families will lose extra SNAP benefits while seeing groceries cost more due to inflation.
“This is going to put more pressure on food pantries and the Dept. of Human Services call center,” Hopkins said. ”
Other key players include Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and AHC, Inc., DHS, as well as Healthy Community Action Team Arlington, No Kid Hungry Virginia and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
“Eliminating food insecurity in Arlington will be a community-wide effort,” de Ferranti said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the coalition in pursuit of more affordable and more equitable food security system.”
A 4 BD/ 3.5 BA brick townhome with 4 floors and hardwood floors is included in Just Reduced.
Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 10000 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
Police are investigating the first reported homicide of the year in Arlington. According to Arlington County police, a man was found dead in an apartment on the 100 block of…
3 Car Detached Garages
Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve