More than 200,000 Pounds of Food Collected in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s Visit

April 18, 2008

Parishes and schools across the Archdiocese of Washington collected 225,890 lbs of food over the weekend for the Hunger to Hope food drive in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington.

On April 17, the pope was presented with a birthday card informing him of the amount of food collected in his honor and wishing him a happy birthday from the Archdiocese of Washington.

The food drive, coordinated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, honored Pope Benedict XVI’s visit by sharing in his concern for the poor, said Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl. “In his name, we can give to food banks,” he said, to attest to “his concern for the poor and needy around the world.”

All 140 parishes and 106 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington participated in the food drive, filling 100,000 large paper bags with canned goods, juice, pastas and sauces, cereal, ready meals and dried fruits and nuts to fill area food banks and parish pantries.

Local food banks are struggling to keep pace with the increasing need for groceries due to the economic downturn, the Washington Post reported on April 8. Nationwide, requests for food assistance in the past year are up 30 percent nationwide, the Post reported. The Capital Area Food Bank received 127,337 pounds of food collected through Hunger to Hope. The remaining 98,553 lbs went to parish pantries in the archdiocese and the Southern Maryland Food Bank, which is distributing the food across Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Some of the area non-profits that have received food from the food drive are:

• Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Laurel, MD
• Manna Food Center, Rockville, MD
• Children’s Aid Society, Waldorf, MD
• Wayside Food Bank, Cobb Island, MD
• Helping Hands, Hollywood, MD

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]