A year into its effort to support those in need during the pandemic, leaders at Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church are prepping for what might be the long haul.
It could take two to three years for those impacted by the economic downturn that accompanied the pandemic to fully get back on their feet, and “we are still trying to wrap our heads around that,” said Father Tim Hickey, who updated the Kiwanis Club of South Arlington on the parish’s efforts during an April 15 Zoom meeting.
The presentation was “eye-opening,” said Kiwanis president Andres Tobar.
The church’s weekly pantry program, which prior to the pandemic provided 225 to 250 bags of groceries per week to families in need, is now averaging 625 to 650 and in some cases surpasses 700. Over the course of the year, the parish as distributed close to 30,000 grocery bags totaling 350,000 food items.
Father Hickey said congregants stepped up to the plate and would “repeatedly come together for the purpose of helping.”
“It has been an amazing experience for our parish and out volunteers, reaching out to our neighbors,” he said, also praising a host of partners who have supported food-security initiatives sponsored by the church.
“These relationships . . . have continued and have been critically important,” Father Hickey said, pointing to local farmers’ markets, schools and community organizations that have stepped in to provide support.
Special events throughout the pandemic-focused year included the traditional Thanksgiving-basket giveaway, which in 2020 supported holiday meals for 775 families, nearly double a typical year.
For information on the initiatives and ways to support them, see the Website at www.ourladyqueenofpeace.org.
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