Thousands of Bags of Food to be Collected in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s Visit

April 09, 2008

Parishes and schools across the Archdiocese of Washington will bring thousands of bags of food they have collected to drop off sites in Washington, DC and Maryland on Sunday, April 13.

Parishioners and students are preparing to welcome Pope Benedict XVI by reaching out to the hungry in our area through the Hunger to Hope food drive. They are 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.

Parishes will bring their food bags to three drop off sites, where it will be loaded onto trucks for distribution:
Sunday, April 13 – 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mount Calvary Church, 6700 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD (Prince George’s County)

McCarrick Center, 12247 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD (Montgomery County)

Capital Area Food Bank, 645 Taylor St., NE, Washington DC

The food will fill the pantries of the Capital Area Food Bank, the Southern Maryland Food Bank and the 60 food pantries at parishes in the archdiocese. A news story in the Washington Post on April 8 reports on how local food banks are trying to keep pace with the increasing need for groceries due to the economic downturn. Requests for food assistance in the past year are up 30 percent nationwide, the Post reported.

The food drive, coordinated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, honors 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.”

During his visit, the pope will be presented with a list of the parishes and schools participating and the amount of food collected in his honor. All 140 parishes and 106 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington are participating in the food drive. The archdiocese hopes to collect at least 200,000 food items.

The Capital Area Food Bank will distribute the food at no cost to its 700 partner agencies and organizations that feed the hungry in the Washington area. The Southern Maryland Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities, will ensure similar distribution of the food collected across Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]