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Mormons donate 35,500 pounds of food to Manassas Catholic Charities warehouse

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The need for food skyrocketed just as large gatherings were suspended, leaving diocesan Catholic Charities St. Lucy Project cut off from one of its biggest suppliers — after-Mass food drives. But in spite of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the organization, volunteers and donors are working together to find food and get it to the pantries and the people who desperately need it. 

The St. Lucy Project will launch the first of several no contact, drive-thru parish food drives April 24. Interfaith cooperation also is playing a role. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a truckload of help — 35,500 pounds of food —  to the Manassas warehouse April 21, with another donation scheduled for May.

The sheer amount of food plus the promise of more allows the warehouse to make commitments to the 63 food pantries it supplies based on the pending deliveries and current stock. “This provides us a way ahead,” said Vince Cannava, program director and food source developer of St. Lucy Project. “This will feed between 1,500 to 2,600 people, just from this delivery.” 

The Latter-day Saints have donated to the St. Lucy Project before, but the church is stepping up donations to food pantries around the country in the midst of this crisis, said Robert Walter, president of the Centreville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. “As a faith-centric organization, we are focusing first on loving God and secondly on loving our neighbors,” he said. “This is an opportunity for the church to share resources that we have. So we’re grateful for the opportunity and thrilled to work with you all.”

Local businesses are stepping up as well. Sheehy Ford employees are driving company vehicles to transport food from the warehouse to pantries. 6 Pastures, an organic cattle farm in Winchester run by Sacred Heart of Jesus parishioner Paul Valentino, donated more than 700 pounds of meat. Keany Produce is matching donations of produce boxes that their customers purchase and donating those to the St. Lucy Project. 

Several times in the last few weeks, Cannava has found himself thinking about ways to get food, and an hour later he receives a call from someone offering him just what he needed. “God provides. It’s fantastic and encouraging,” he said. 

Find out more

The St. Lucy Food Project will hold “No touch, no contact drive-thru” food drives in the coming weeks. To learn more, go here

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020