Coming to the Table: Addressing Food Insecurity During the Pandemic

AFC’s decision to become actively involved in addressing food insecurity was new for us, but the pandemic underscored the critical importance of “whole-person care”— especially in a crisis—and especially for those struggling with cancer, diabetes, or other serious health conditions.

Support from Arlington County, Arlington Community Foundation, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Safeway, and a handful of individual donors enabled AFC and our partners (VHC Outpatient Clinic, VHC Pediatrics, DHS Maternal and Child Health, BU-GATA, OAR, and Aspire!) to provide over 500 high-need families $200 in grocery store gift cards per month for a sustained period (3-6 months). The key to our initiative was sustained support, which gave recipients—including those with limited mobility due to health conditions or care-giving responsibilities— the power to plan ahead during an unpredictable and difficult season, and budget for essentials like rent, utilities, winter clothing, and childcare.

Meet some of the hundreds of families whose loads we were able to make just a little bit lighter thanks to this important initiative:

  • 18-year-old high school student who lives with her brother. He pays only half the rent and is rarely home.
  • Day laborer on dialysis.
  • Single mom with 19-year-old son with special needs who is in a wheelchair.
  • Patient in active treatment for breast cancer whose husband’s work hours were recently reduced by half.
  • Single, older woman with dementia and psychosis who is cared for by her sister and niece.
  • Young father whose wife recently died of cancer. He is caring for and supporting their two children on reduced wages.
  • 74-year-old two-time breast cancer survivor who is still working and supports herself on $7,200 per year.
  • Day laborer who is living in his car. Available work has been greatly reduced during the pandemic.
  • 67-year-old woman with breast cancer and metastasis. Her only support comes from her son who is unable to find consistent employment.

Read our entire 2021 Spring Newsletter

AFC’s Vaccine Clinics
Patient Story: Maria
Letter from the President: Arlington Free Clinic’s Role in Ensuring Vaccine Equity
Recognizing Jim Cole, President & CEO of Virginia Hospital Center, Friend of AFC
Transitioning to a Post-COVID-19 World Through a Mix of Virtual & Onsite Care
COVID-19: Year in Review
Spring 2021 Updates