WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Food Bank Sees Small Signs Of Turning Economy

Play associated audio
The executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center says his staff sees fewer expired cans among their donations, perhaps a small sign the economy is turning around.
Jonathan Wilson
The executive director of the Arlington Food Assistance Center says his staff sees fewer expired cans among their donations, perhaps a small sign the economy is turning around.

Food pantries can be a barometer for how the economy is affecting the neediest families. People at the Arlington Food Assistance Center say demand for food is not letting up this holiday season, though there are some signs of change.

Every weekday, from 10 a.m. to noon, hungry Arlington residents line up at the center for their share of free groceries. The past couple of years have brought nearly unprecedented demand, and 20-year-old Harry Rivera, who visits the food bank regularly, says the need is still growing.

"It's getting worse because...there's more people every time I'm here," Rivera says.

Norm Lamberg has been volunteering at the organization for five years and says he isn't seeing a slowdown either.

"I feel that it's as heavy today as it has been in the past," he says.

But there are small signs that the hardest times may be passing. Executive Director Charlie Meng says though the center serves about 10 new families each month, that's better than the 100 new families applying for assistance each month one year ago.

And as volunteers sort through cans of donated food, they're seeing expiration dates that haven't passed.

"It's a sign that people are willing to spend money because all of it is newly bought. So they've gone to the store to buy specifically for AFAC," Meng says.

Still, he says it's hard to be hopeful for many of his clients. Meng says they are likely the last people to rise out of the recession.

NPR

Nina McLemore's Clothes Are A 'Weapon' Of Powerful Women

Nina McLemore designs clothes for powerful women: Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Janet Yellen, Elena Kagan and others. She talks about how fashion can help women stand out in political office.
NPR

After Italy Quakes, Food World Delivers Support To Home Of Famous Pasta Dish

Amatrice was set to host the 50th celebration of pasta all'Amatriciana famously made there, but this week's earthquake devastated the town. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with food blogger Jeremy Cherfas.
NPR

Ben Carson Supports Trump's Outreach To African-Americans

Donald Trump met with black and Latino supporters this week to try to gain favorability among minority voters. Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson was in that meeting and supports Trump.
WAMU 88.5

Want To Play Video Games Made In D.C.? Here's Your Chance.

An event called District Arcade brings together 23 locally made video games.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.