Food Resources Available to the ACPS Community
Food insecurity is a concern facing our community, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the local food resource organizations serving Alexandria is ALIVE!, which has been addressing the needs of approximately 4,000 households monthly.
ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers says the numbers of people in need of food assistance are ticking up again, possibly due to inflation, rent or changes in the job market. “People are making these hard choices between rent and food,” said Ayers. When asked what these families would do without ALIVE!, Ayers responded, “I don’t know.” She added that without food resource operations like ALIVE!, some people may find it hard to find nutritious food and feed their families.
ALIVE! provides food to local pantries, schools, meal kitchens and drive-through or walk-up mass distribution events at various locations throughout Alexandria. These events usually occur once a week and are listed on the organization’s website. Most of its distributions provide enough food for a family of four for up to five days, including eggs, chicken, vegetables, seasonal produce and fresh bread. At its West End Food Hub, families have the option to choose what food items they want and can also pick up basic hygiene items and cleaning supplies and get information about how to obtain other needed services. ALIVE!’s family assistance program also takes referrals for home delivery of groceries for families who cannot leave home, such as single parent households.
Food donations are always welcome at ALIVE!, and the need for donations increases from January through April, when the number of families served rises due to seasonal employment. The month of August also sees an increase in demand as well as a lower supply of donations. Ayers says items they are especially in need of include rice, spices, cooking oil, flour and canned fruits. ALIVE! also appreciates donated items that children can heat or eat themselves, such as oatmeal, granola bars and cereal. Financial donations help purchase fresh items like eggs and chicken, ensuring ALIVE! can provide nutritionally-balanced food offerings. Drop offs are accepted at its food warehouse at 801 S. Payne Street. ALIVE! requests that donations do not include glass jars, opened containers or items that have expired.
Volunteers are welcome at ALIVE! to help distribute and sort and prepare for food distribution events. “This is really an easy way to be involved with ALIVE! and serve your neighbor,” said Ayers. Some of the community members who receive food assistance from ALIVE! also volunteer.
ALIVE! offers a monthly food distribution schedule and also has set hours at the ALIVE! West End Food Hub at 510 S. Van Dorn Street. Visit alive-inc.org for updated December schedules. You can also find out how ALIVE! assists the Alexandria community in a variety of other ways on its website or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
In addition, learn more about the coordinated efforts among local food providers and find the Alexandria City Food Assistance Resources Program Directory and Schedule at Hunger Free Alexandria.