ALEXANDRIA, Va (WUSA) - Patrick Johnson from Front Royal Virginia knows first hand the value of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. He receives food weekly for his Loaves and Fishes food pantry. He says, "People are choosing between food and prescriptions, food and clothing, food and their light bill. It's the program completely essential to the lives of the people that live in Warren County."
The program falls under the Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington, and focuses attention on outlying areas which make up twenty-one counties. "We service over 60 pantries from this pantry, says volunteer coordinator, Nicole Bruno. We delivered over 50,000 lbs of food last year, and we're looking to almost double that this year." In the basement, shelves are stocked with non-perishables. The backbone of the food pantry is volunteers like Dan Foos, a driver and his 15-year-old daughter Lisa. They are part of the heart warming people dedicated to helping others.
Sherri Longhill, Regional Coordinator, says that they receive so many volunteer requests that they've needed to put people on a waiting list. "It (the program) has been the best received, it's the most visible because we are taking a basic commodity that every human being needs" she says.
If you want to know why the program is so successful, participants will probably say it's their desire to help the needy and fulfill the mission of their church. "That is one of the best parts about working for an organization that has God in our work, and has compassion and dignity for human life." says Nicole Bruno.