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Arlington parish receives donation of $250,000 worth of toiletries

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Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington is used to distributing hundreds of bags of food a week. Now the parish is facing a new challenge: how to distribute $250,000 worth of toiletries and household products. 

June Cieri, a volunteer at the food pantry of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, relocates bottles of soap Oct. 16. ZOEY MARAIST  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

203 toilteriesThe parish received the truckload-size donation from Food for the Poor. The charity had worked with Queen of Peace before by assisting its sister parish in Haiti, said parishioner Mary Susan Carlson. A few months ago, the charity reached out and offered to donate thousands of pounds of personal hygiene products for the needy in Arlington. “We talked it over and we said, ‘Yeah, we can do this,’ ” said Spiritan Father Timothy J. Hickey, pastor. 

Early in the pandemic, Queen of Peace converted its parish hall into a food storage facility for the pantry. So to house the influx of toiletries, the parish rented two 10-by-25-foot storage containers. Volunteers helped unload 40 pallets containing 16,800 razors, 6,000 sticks of deodorant, 20,000 diapers, and pounds and pounds of soap, shampoo, shaving cream and laundry detergent into storage Oct. 16. 

The items will be given out during the weekly food distribution and at the parish’s Matthew 25 Thrift Store, said Sally Diaz-Wells, parish social justice and outreach minister. “We’re hoping to be pretty generous but spread the love,” she said. 

“(This is) all stuff that WIC and food stamps don’t cover,” said Father Hickey. “It offers us an opportunity — it’s another way for us to help our clientele that come to our food pantry and to our free clothing store, to offer them help with things they use and need on a daily basis.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020