Feeding hungry individuals and families is a challenge the Community Feeding Task Force has been addressing since the Coronavirus outbreak began in March.
Typically, food is provided by the Capital Area Food Bank and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In December, however, support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the USDA ended.
To continue supporting the less fortunate, the task force needs donations.
Because the USDA program hasn’t restarted and additional support through the CARES Act hasn’t been provided, the Community Feeding Task Force is out of funds for food to create new boxes.
A tractor trailer load of non-perishable items carries about 3,000 boxes and costs around $70,000, according to Prince William Food Rescue Program Director Aaron Tolson. At least 10,000 boxes are going out each week.
Contributions can be made to Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) and marked for the food rescue, which ACTS runs.
“All the funding that’s raised goes directly to buying food and getting it back out in the community,” Tolson said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Prince William County, the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and the Prince William Food Rescue run the task force. It supports 78 food distribution sites, and the need is growing, according to Tolson.
In addition to donations, volunteers are also needed.
One option is to be a “food rescue hero” by downloading the Prince William Food Rescue app, setting up a profile, and signing up for a rescue.
Here is a video about how the app works:
“That allows us to help move food that’s available from a donor to a distribution site so that it doesn’t go to waste and instead it becomes a meal for a family,” Tolson added.
More than 300 rescues are occurring each week, including deliveries to seniors and families who aren’t able to leave their homes.
The public may build food boxes at the warehouse in Manassas, as well.
To learn about volunteer opportunities, follow ACTS on social media or check out Volunteer Prince William.
“There’s a lot of ways for the community to still be involved, and we need the community in order to be able to provide food,” Tolson said.
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