Catholic Charities' fresh fruit and vegetable drive exceeds expectations


February 15, 2023

ARLINGTON, Va. - Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington's pilot fresh fruits and vegetables food drive on “Big Game” Sunday exceeded its goal by 30% and garnered almost 1,300 pounds of produce to distribute to local food pantries this week.

The food drive, which took place at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria and was coordinated by the St. Lucy Food Project, netted 1,283 pounds of carrots, potatoes, cabbage, apples, oranges and lemons, far above the 1,000-pound goal. 

“The generosity of parishioners and their friends responding to this pilot effort is heartwarming and will ensure families in our area receive healthy fresh foods even in the winter,” said Vincent Cannava, program director for the St. Lucy Food Project.

“Individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table often forego fresh produce, because it's usually more expensive. As food prices continue to rise, Catholic Charities launched this pilot program to see how we could respond to the need.”

The collected vegetables will be distributed throughout the region at the following locations:

  • Daily: The East End Mobile Home Park Pantry in Manassas City
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15: Christ House in Alexandria, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Arlington, Holy Family Catholic Church in Woodbridge and St. Joseph's Table in Culpeper County.
  • Thursday, Feb. 16: Christ House in Alexandria


Food insecurity is an ongoing challenge. Fresh fruits and vegetables are even more scarce as prices have soared in recent years and their shelf lives are not conducive to many food pantries. The price of fresh vegetables alone is up more than 9% from last year, and it's expected to rise further. Inflation is a cause, but so too are natural disasters, decreased production and diseases affecting produce.

This issue is even more pronounced in Northern Virginia. More than 7% of Arlington County residents, for example, are considered food insecure, according to a county report. Rural populations, such as in Culpeper County, regularly experience upward of 9.5% food insecurity, according to a report by Feeding America.

St. Lucy Food Project provides food to the community through more than 80 parish, interfaith, community and government pantries within the Diocese.  

Media interested in covering one of the distribution sites should contact Mary Shaffrey, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 703-841-2517 or