ARLINGTON, VA – The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) commemorated its 35th Anniversary during their annual “Shining a Light on Hunger” Spring Celebration on Thursday, April 18, with a tribute to the six churches that established the food bank’s presence in Arlington County. After AFAC opened its doors to the public in 1988, these congregations laid the groundwork for what would become a lifeline for thousands of Arlington residents facing food insecurity.

AFAC’s food distribution journey began by rotating through the community spaces of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ, Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cherrydale Baptist Church, Little Falls Presbyterian Church, and Clarendon United Methodist Church. Over the course of 35 years, AFAC evolved into the 15,000 square foot space on South Nelson St. that they now call home. Its mission, however, remains steadfast – to provide dignified access to free supplemental groceries to all Arlington neighbors in need.

“These six congregations started with nothing but a dream – that dream is now AFAC,” says Chief Executive Officer Charlie Meng. “It is time we recognized these congregations formally for their contributions in establishing AFAC and in helping to sustain us ever since.”

AFAC’s Spring Celebration not only honored its history, but also served as a reminder to the community of the rising number of families they are seeing in need of food assistance. The food bank projects a 30% increase in the number of families served since its prior fiscal year – a number that is expected to surpass 180,000 family visits by June 30, 2024.

“As we celebrate 35 years of service to the Arlington Community, we are reminded of the continued support of our donors, community partners, and volunteers,” emphasizes Meng. “Their commitment to AFAC’s mission allows us to carry on providing essential groceries to the increasing number of Arlington residents coming to our doors in need of food assistance.”

For more information about the Arlington Food Assistance Center and how to support its mission, 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 its neighbors in need. Over 3,700 families are coming to AFAC each week at 20 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.


CONTACT:  Alana Rafiee | Marketing & Communications Associate
703-845-8486 │ │
2708 S. Nelson St, Arlington, VA 22206