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Catholic Charities kicks off Fall Harvest
Catholic Charities held a potluck picnic Aug. 11 at Rappahannock Cellars in Huntly to launch this year’s Fall Harvest. Approximately 50 volunteers and supporters turned out for the event, which included live music by Zack Quintana and wine tasting.
Fall Harvest is a diocesanwide food drive held during September, October and November. Last year 26 parishes participated and contributed a total of 40,000 pounds of food and $13,000 in donations. This year, the goal is to have 34 parishes participate and collect 60,000 pounds of food. Catholic Charities also encourages monetary donations. As members of the Capital Area and Blue Ridge Area Food Banks, Catholic Charities is able to purchase food for pennies on the dollar.
Fall Harvest is managed through the Parish Liaison Network (PLN). The PLN is comprised of volunteer representatives from each parish selected by the pastor. Volunteers work with Catholic Charities to ensure that the parishes and Catholic Charities communicate and collaborate in serving the poor, whether through the ministries operated by the parishes or the programs offered by Catholic Charities.
At the picnic, Catholic Charities President Art Bennett applauded the work of the PLN volunteers. “Working together we can do great things,” said Bennett. “Your work in the parishes is critical for us to continue our mission of service to all the poor, wherever they may be in the diocese.”
Throughout the diocese, 212,000 people, or about 10 percent of the population, are food insecure. Individuals experiencing food insecurity are unable to purchase enough food to last until the next paycheck; they cannot afford to eat balanced meals; they experience health problems due to lack of proper nutrition; and they make sacrifices for their children, yet the children still go hungry. Hunger is disproportionally experienced by children, the working poor, single-parent households, the elderly, the disabled and homeless people.
Catholic Charities operates three food pantries — Christ House in Alexandria, the Western Regional Office in Leesburg and Loaves and Fishes in Front Royal. From these locations, and its partner location, St. Matthew Food Pantry in Fredericksburg, Catholic Charities will redistribute the donated food throughout the diocese, including delivering food to rural pantries via Christ House on Wheels, its mobile pantry.
How to help
Email Sherri Longhill at email@example.com to sign up your parish.