Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Virtual Food Drive will begin Nov. 17, the third World Day of the Poor designated by Pope Francis. 

The food drive, which provides support to four Catholic Charities programs in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties, will allow Catholic Charities to continue working to combat hunger in the local area. 

One recipient of the Virtual Food Drive, the Southern Maryland Food Bank of Catholic Charities, provides 1.2 million pounds of food per year, supporting more than 8,000 families and individuals each month through food pantries and group homes as well as other outlets such as programs for school children and senior citizens. This food bank also sponsors the Meals and Hope Food Truck, bringing hot meals weekly to those in need.

Catholic Charities' SHARE Food Network is a sustainable social program that helps people save money on nutritious, healthy food. The Virtual Food Drive helps continue to allow many to participate in this program, receiving wholesome and nutritious food at a reduced cost, as well as encouraging volunteer service in the community as well as creating partnerships with community organizations. In the last year, more than 34,000 people purchased nutritious and affordable groceries through this program. 

St. Maria’s Meals of Catholic Charities offers weekly warm and nutritious meals to individuals and families through a mobile food truck, providing an outlet for community and connection. Last year, the St. Maria’s Meals program served 16,000 warm meals. Another recipient of the Virtual Food Drive, Catholic Charities' Cup of Joe program, offers healthy “breakfast to go” bags at the eight Catholic Charities overnight emergency shelters and transitional centers.

To donate to the Virtual Food Drive or to get more information, visit https://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/vfd/