*Updated March 25, 2020
AFAC Client Policies
The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) provides free supplemental groceries to any Arlington County resident who cannot afford to purchase enough food for themselves or their families.
Much of the food AFAC distributes is donated by grocery stores and food drives in Arlington. However, AFAC purchases most perishable items on a weekly basis to ensure freshness, variety, and nutritional value. The people distributing the food are volunteers.
- Qualifications: In order to get food from AFAC on a weekly basis, you must live in Arlington and you must get a referral from a certified Arlington County social worker. Arlington residents who need immediate assistance before they can obtain a referral may be served ONE time with the following documentation.
- Proof of Arlington residency:
- Current government issued photo ID with Arlington address, OR
- Rental Lease Agreement or Utility Bill (electric, gas, water) with your name on it, OR
- Letter from your landlord stating you live at the address.
If you cannot show proof of Arlington residency, you will not be served.
- Referral: To get groceries more than once, you must have a current referral from a social worker at Arlington County Department of Human Services (DHS), Arlington Public Schools, or another certified social service agency.
During this time period, if you need a new AFAC referral or a renewal, please call the Arlington County Department of Human Services (DHS) Community Assistance Bureau (2100 Washington Blvd, 1st floor) at 703-228-1300.
For seniors and people with disabilities, please call Aging & Disability Services Division (2100 Washington Blvd, 4th floor) at 703-228-1700. The elderly and chronically ill should call this number to inquire about home delivery.
Currently, DHS is only taking appointments over the phone for referrals. For more information about DHS services, click here.
Parents of children attending Arlington Public Schools can also get an AFAC referral through their school social worker.
You may pick up your food at one of the following food distribution sites (see below). When you get your referral, you will be asked to choose which location you prefer. Once you have chosen a location, you may not change it unless you notify your social worker. You can pick up your food once a week at that location only.
If you are still in need of food assistance after your referral expires, you may return to your social worker to have your referral renewed.
- Distribution Sites: With a referral, you may receive groceries once a week from one of AFAC’s distribution sites. Your social worker will ask you which location you prefer. Once you have chosen a location, you may not change it.
AFAC distributes groceries at the following times and locations:
AFAC Nelson: 2708 S. Nelson St
Monday to Friday: 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Saturday morning: 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Clarendon United Methodist Church: 606 N. Irving St, lower level
Saturday morning: 9:30 – 10:30 AM
- First Come, First Served, All Served: AFAC clients are given a numbered ticket in the order they arrive when distribution begins. When your number is called, show your AFAC Client Card to the volunteer at the desk and you will be served.
Please be aware that AFAC will not run out of food so it is not necessary to arrive before distribution hours.
All Arlington residents with active referrals will receive the same quality and variety of groceries.
If you choose to arrive early, you must remain in line or you will lose your place.
It is prohibited to leave any items to hold your place in line. Unattended items will be disposed of.
- AFAC Client Card: Once you have a referral, you will receive an AFAC Client Card at your distribution center. Please show your ID and proof of address to receive your card. You must present your card each time you pick up groceries. If you forget your card, you must show your photo ID and proof of address. Replacements will be issued for lost or stolen cards. If you are unable to present your AFAC client card or your photo ID, you will not be served.
- Shopping for someone else: You may pick up groceries for ONE family apart from your own. You must have their client card and their referral must be up-to-date. You only need one numbered ticket to pick up for two families.
- Client Conduct: It is expected that you show respect towards other clients and towards the volunteers who are here to serve you. Disruptive or inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. If you are disruptive, you will not be served and may be asked to leave. Your social worker will be contacted and informed of the nature of the incident. Continued disruptive or inappropriate behavior will result in a permanent denial of service.
- Holiday Closures: AFAC will be closed on the following National holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Day President’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day
- Christmas Day
- Weather Closures: If you are unsure, please visit our website or call 703-845-8486.
- Policy Changes: AFAC is a private non-profit organization. As such, service may be denied for the violation of any AFAC policy. AFAC reserves the right to amend these and other policies at any time.
- Non-Discrimination: AFAC does not discriminate based on race, religion, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, first language, gender, or disability. AFAC is committed to maintaining a safe, supportive, and respectful space for all of the members of our community. All Are Welcome.