Bishop Burbidge blesses the new pantry in Alexandria.

Bishop Blesses New, Larger Food Pantry

Bishop Michael Burbidge joined Catholic Charities President and CEO Stephen Carattini, Board members, staff and volunteers to bless Catholic Charities new food pantry on Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria. Every week Catholic Charities provides food to a growing number of individuals and families.

The blessing of the food pantry and the adjacent Emergency Assistance offices occurred during National Poverty Awareness Month, and on the Memorial of St. John Neumann, known for his love for the poor.

Catholic Charities responded to the dramatic increase in need by moving the food pantry from its former location inside Christ House in Old Town Alexandria to this new location in November. The previous pantry was too small to meet the growing demand for food.

The men's transitional housing program and evening meal for the homeless remain at Christ House.

Pantry Volunteers Needed!

Catholic Charities food pantries are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of individuals and families who come to receive food. The situation is especially tight at Alexandria’s new Eisenhower Avenue pantry, where volunteers have seen a 40 percent increase in people requesting food compared to the former location at Christ House. To accommodate the growing need in Alexandria and Front Royal, staff are considering extending pantry hours or adding days, which would require more volunteers. To learn more, email Alexandria volunteer coordinator Sr. Aniliza Juan SNDS at [email protected], or for Front Royal email [email protected].

Poverty in Virginia

Every day at approximately 3:30 p.m., people begin to line up outside of Catholic Charities Christ House in Old Town Alexandria to receive a free, hot, evening meal. For the next two hours the sidewalk fills with men, women and occasionally children, seeking food. Just as quickly, the line recedes, and all becomes quiet once again.

Where do these people come from? Where do they go after they’ve received their food?

Pope Francis reminds us, “whenever we encounter a poor person, we cannot look away, for that would prevent us from encountering the face of the Lord Jesus.”

We encounter the face of Jesus every day in our Catholic Charities ministries throughout the diocese. During this, National Poverty Awareness Month, read about “islands of disadvantage” in Northern Virginia and more from Catholic Charities President and CEO Stephen Carattini.

Poverty Awareness Month

"Poverty is not always evident, especially in regions known for wealth and abundance. This is true in the Diocese of Arlington. While many of our neighbors have the resources to provide for their families, there is also hidden suffering which afflicts many who work hard but still fall short of what they need. As Catholics, we are called to bring this silent suffering to light and ease it when possible."

Read the full statement from Bishop Burbidge.

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