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St. Lucy Project food truck helps Arlington Diocese keep up with weekly food demands

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Three parishes in Alexandria joined forces to purchase a refrigerated food truck to help diocesan Catholic Charities keep up with the demand for food among the diocese’s neediest. With this second truck, the St. Lucy Project will be able to pick up and deliver food donations.

Father Thomas Ferguson, moderator of the curia and pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, blessed the food truck Oct. 29. Father Ramón Báez, parochial vicar at Good Shepherd Church and Father Matthew Zuberbueler, pastor of St. Louis Church in Alexandria, assisted.

“The new truck allows us to do multiple food drives throughout the city and have multiple vehicles to pick up and distribute the food.”

“It’s brought so many people to get us to this day of blessing, but the real connection, the real communion this project is to bring about” is only beginning today, said Father Ferguson.

The food truck, which already has handled 62,000 pounds of food, hit the streets in July. Their fleet of two vehicles and a van is supplemented by rental trucks.

Four parishes hosted food drives last weekend for St. Lucy Project, something Art Bennett, president and CEO of diocesan Catholic Charities, calls unprecedented for the diocesan food distribution network.

Good Shepherd, St. Louis and St. Mary Church in Alexandria collaborated to buy the used truck from Keany Produce. Each parish set aside funds to support the operation of the truck on a yearly basis.

“Our family is very happy we can be supportive and help in some way the tremendous initiative of Catholic Charities,” said Kevin Keany, a partner in Keany Produce and parishioner at Good Shepherd.

Shane Mullins, parts director at Sheehy Ford in Springfield where the truck was retrofitted, said the dealership plans to hold food drives to support the St. Lucy Project.

Claudia Fiebig, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd, said the partnership between parishes and involving local businesses helps increase awareness of and support for the project.

“It’s important for our three parishes and this diocese to meet the needs of the food insecure,” she said. “We’re looking at this as a possible model for other clustered parishes to see a need and work together with community partners.”

Debra Beard, volunteer coordinator for the St. Lucy Project, said the newest truck provides a way to meet the demands of picking up food during the week and from food drives.

The original truck, donated by St. John Neumann Church in Reston, was used during the week to cover the eastern part of the diocese in addition to helping with food pickups for Bread for Our Brothers, a partnership between the Mount Vernon Knights of Columbus and St. Louis to deliver unsalable bread products to food pantries, shelters and churches.

“The new truck allows us to do multiple food drives throughout the city and have multiple vehicles to pick up and distribute the food,” said Beard.

The truck is parked in one of the three parish lots each Sunday. St. Lucy Project determines where to park it on the fourth Sunday. The Knights are responsible for getting the truck to where it needs to be, according to Fiebig.

One of the goals of the multi-parish collaboration is to bring more awareness to the St. Lucy Project and to get food donations where they are most needed most efficiently.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016