Casa Chirilagua gave out 1,000 meals to families in Arlandria on Thursday afternoon, and still needs food, cash and face mask donations for Alexandria’s vulnerable Hispanic population.
Taco Bamba in D.C. and Alexandria Restaurant Partners provided the meals, which were distributed by a cadre of community volunteers over the course of a half hour. The meals were made of chicken, vegetables and rice. The food distribution was organized by World Central Kitchen, which has given out millions of meals across the country during the pandemic. Alexandria Police officers maintained order, and Hunger Free Alexandria and Volunteer Alexandria gave out all the food.
Kate Garvey, the director of the Department of Community and Human Services, said that the food distribution will alternate weekly outside Casa Chirilagua on Mount Vernon Avenue and William Ramsay Elementary School every Thursday after 5 p.m.
“We’ll be doing a weekly, and next week will be at William Ramsey,” Garvey said.
City Councilman Canek Aguirre said that the food drives like this are crucial.
“People have lost their jobs,” Aguirre said. “They don’t have money to pay the rent, they barely have enough money for paying basic necessities like food, and this is a huge hill to climb, especially when you don’t have any money at all. So, being able to keep our families fed here in the city is a paramount importance and we’re going to continue to do what we can to make sure that happens.”
Casa Chirilagua works with more than 120 families living below the poverty line, and so far nonprofit has also paid more than $25,000 in rent and utilities for families impacted by COVID-19.
Last week, Tenants and Workers United led a community-wide protest demanding that Virginia implement a rent freeze for workers affected by COVID-19. The Arlandria neighborhood is one of the poorest in the city, and is located in the 22305 ZIP code, which has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the city.
OEM Training Officer Brent Ruggles and Marion Brunken of Volunteer Alexandria showing support at World Central Kitchen yesterday.
Staff photo by James Cullum