Alexandria, VA

A new free Friday food distribution at Casa Chirilagua in Arlandria has been set to help the community through most of the summer.

More than 1,000 boxes of fresh food from the Baltimore, Maryland-based Church of the Apostles in the City was given to residents, who lined up through the trails and around the football field at Four Mile Run Park.

“This is the first Friday that we’re doing this mass food distribution and it will continue for the next seven Fridays,” Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas told ALXnow.

Arlandria has some of the highest numbers of COVID-19, and is home to some of the city’s poorest residents.

Jay Baylor is the pastor at Church of the Apostles, and said that the church will deliver a truckload of food every week.

“When COVID hit, we upped our game and started delivering more food in our neighborhood in East Baltimore,” Baylor said. “Last week we brought 15 pallets down here to Casa Chirilagua and 10 pallets to Old Town Community Church.”

Arlandria resident Sophia Reyes had trouble carrying the 40 pounds of food home. Reyes, who lives with her daughter and granddaughter, said that the family has been dependent on weekly food distributions in the community.

“[My daughter] can’t work and it is very important for us to get this food,” Reyes said.

ALIVE! will also hold its next monthly food distribution on Saturday morning.

The “truck-to-trunk” food distribution will be held at ALIVE! from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lots of Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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