ARLINGTON, VA – The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a nonprofit organization with a mission to address long term food insecurity in Arlington County and Northern Virginia, served a record number of 3,807 families in need of food assistance during their Thanksgiving “Chicken Week.” The week of November 13-18, 2023, AFAC gave out 3,579 whole chicken roasters in addition to their weekly grocery distribution to ease the burden of added financial costs on neighbors in need leading up to the holiday season. 

While these numbers are an all-time high for AFAC, the milestone number did not come as a shock. Steadily increasing numbers have been the norm since the same time last year. In 2022, AFAC served 2,900 families during their distribution the week preceding Thanksgiving. The consistent rise of 50 to 100 new families coming to their doors every month underscores the persistent need for food assistance in Arlington County and the surrounding areas.  

In the past, AFAC provided whole turkeys the week leading up to Thanksgiving. However, this year they made the switch to giving out whole chicken roasters. This decision allows the food bank to now allocate a significant amount of the extra funds that would’ve gone to purchasing turkeys on other essential food items as well as address the cultural needs of AFAC’s diverse client population. 

Chief Executive Officer of AFAC, Charles Meng, expressed gratitude for the steadfast support from the community and emphasized the collective effort required to address the ongoing challenges of food insecurity. “The record breaking week and the steady increase in families seeking assistance emphasizes the critical need for ongoing local support,” Meng stated. “We are grateful for the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and partners who enable us to make a direct impact on the lives of those facing food insecurity in our community.”

AFAC remains dedicated to its mission of creating a community where all individuals have dignified access to nutritious food supply. For more information about AFAC and to learn how to contribute, please visit

ABOUT AFAC: The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) is an independent, community-based non-profit food pantry that provides dignified access to nutritious supplemental groceries to neighbors in need. Over 3,300 families are coming to AFAC each week at 21 distribution sites throughout Arlington County, Alexandria, and Falls Church to access fresh and healthy supplemental groceries, freeing up tightly stretched funds for child and health care, rent, and other financial demands.  For more information, visit and follow @afacfeeds on social media.