Share in Hope Food Drive
Food drive aims for 125,000 pounds of food for area food banks and pantries
February 24, 2012
Pope Benedict XIV’s message for the Lent this year is “Charity as a means to salvation.” Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington is partnering with parishes and Catholic schools in Washington, DC and Maryland for the annual “Share in Hope Food Drive” to collect 125,000 pounds of food for area food banks and pantries.
Entering its fifth year, the Share in Hope Food Drive provides a critical supply of food for the Capital Area Food Bank and many smaller, community-based food pantries in the region. Combining the programs of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington with thousands of parishioners in the Archdiocese, the food drive has become a very visible way for the faithful to live out their Lenten commitments and serve their neighbors struggling with hunger. The drive is being conducted in stages, based on region, due to the scope and size. Donations will be collected on March 3-4, 2012 for parishes in Northwest and Southwest Washington, DC and Montgomery County; and March 10-11, 2012 for parishes in Northeast and Southeast Washington, DC, Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland. Total donations will be tallied by April.
Started in 2008 as a way to welcome and honor to Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the United States, the food drive was wildly successful across the entire archdiocese at both parishes and schools. The food drive has since continued as a way for the Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Washington to live out their faith in a very visible way each Lenten season. Through these drives, Catholic Charities has have collected and donated nearly 750,000 pounds of food. 142,597 pounds of food were collected last year alone. The largest donations came from the parishes of St. Augustine in Northwest Washington (3,386 lbs) and Assumption in Southeast Washington (2,500 lbs) in the District of Columbia; St. Rose of Lima in Gaithersburg (3,800 lbs), Shrine of St. Jude in Rockville (3,380 lbs) in Montgomery County; St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel (4,000 lbs), and Sacred Heart in Bowie (3,408 lbs) in Prince George’s County; and St. John in Hollywood (4,200 lbs) and Jesus the Good Shepherd in Owings (3,390 lbs) in Southern Maryland.
The drive comes as families across the region, and the nation, are having a difficult time providing food for their families. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, in Maryland, 20% of the households with children are “food-insecure,” meaning the family has had difficulty in the last year providing enough food due to a lack of resources. In the District, that number jumps to 37.4%. Across the United States, there are 16.2 million children living in food-insecure homes.
“The need goes much further than those we see on the streets. Far less visible are the many families struggling with near empty pantries at home. They might be one sick child or one broken down car away from true desperation,” said Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. “I’d like to think that when we are in solidarity with those less fortunate, including when we collect food for the hungry, they are transformed, but so are we.”
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and 98 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
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