Fresh fruit, anyone? Pilot produce drive exceeds expectations

Rising food prices are hitting family food budgets hard. The price of fresh vegetables alone is up more than 9 percent from last year.
And earlier this month, people who rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) saw a reduction in their benefits of at least $95 a month.
The combined effect of higher costs and lower assistance affects people who are struggling to get by.

“We have been seeing a very significant increase in client visits before this policy change,” says Vincent Cannava, director of Catholic Charities St. Lucy Food Project. “We don’t see it stopping.”

Catholic Charities sends fresh foods as well as non-perishables to pantry throughout the diocese. Recently it piloted a fruit and vegetable drive at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, with parishioners donating almost 1,300 pounds of carrots, potatoes, cabbage, apples, oranges, and lemons.
The produce was trucked to five parish and community pantries in Alexandria, Arlington, Dale City, Culpeper, and Manassas.

To schedule a fresh produce drive, email Outreach Specialist James McCaskey.