Jonathan, 29, moved to Arlington from St. Louis in September 2012 to be closer to his brother and sister-in-law. Upon visiting the Career Center at Arlington County Department of Human Services, he learned about AFAC and started receiving AFAC services in November 2012. Jonathan is a grateful individual who identifies as an artist, philosopher and writer. He lives frugally and likes to give back to his community.
While a client, his favorite foods to receive from AFAC were fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the heirloom style cherry tomatoes and bananas. He remembers the best dish he ever created with food from AFAC was Ginger Chicken soup. Because of Jonathan’s preference for fresh food, he has a dream to one day own property to farm and produce fresh food for needy people and until then would be happy to participate in a community garden.
Jonathan says: “I was living in poverty without stable income and housing in the fall and winter of 2012. Job searching during this time was extremely difficult, even for an educated young man. November 2012 was literally hand to mouth and AFAC helped out by providing me with temporary food assistance during a very critical job search time. When you are in this situation you can often feel the weight of the world is on your shoulders, socially excluded from society, embarrassed, and hopeless. I think American novelist James Baldwin got it right by saying, “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” Ghandi was also on to something when he remarked, “Poverty is the worst form of violence.”
Jonathan has said that after he found short-term employment, he had more time to reflect on his experience at AFAC and to put his efforts towards helping others. He says: “I’ve benefited from the generosity and goodwill of hidden heroes in the community, AFAC being one of them. Coming back to AFAC to volunteer is a way to re-pay, in part, what I probably always owed, but never had the peace of mind and benefit to realize. Needless to say, AFAC food assistance was instrumental in helping me get back on my feet in times of need. I’m convinced that the work of AFAC helps our community in great ways, altering the stories and lives of needy Arlington residents for the better.”
“More philosophically I think the volunteer work here also helps me with my reading, writing, and painting practice as an artist by reminding me that broadened and consistent humanitarian work is not only important, but endlessly in demand. What is interesting to me is how blind and forgetful we often are at realizing that basic problems like lack of food are more acute and local than we tend to realize.”