ALEXANDRIA, VA – On May 19, a semi-truck filled with 40,000 pounds of food arrived in Alexandria from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center regularly delivers truckloads of donated food on a national and international scale, but more food is being taken to locations in the United States, including Alexandria, VA, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A large group of mainly teenagers, organized by 16-year-olds Max Ellis (ACHS) and Ella Barker (SSSAS), gathered at the LDS Church on King Street to sort the food into five sections. It was then delivered to local food banks, including Our Lady Queen of Peace, Grace Episcopal, Rising Hope, the Ladrey Senior Center, and Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Max and Ella wanted to help their community, so they met together over a couple of months to plan this big service project. Max said, “I wanted to do this because I knew we had hungry people in our area but I didn’t know how to help. This project helped me feel empowered to make a difference.”
Unfortunately, both Max and Ella tested positive for COVID days before the project, so they were unable to attend. Their hard work paid off, however, and everything went smoothly. Volunteers came from ACHS, Episcopal, and schools in Fairfax County Alexandria to help sort and pack the food into U-Hauls to deliver it to food banks. As she packed away the last boxes of food, Max’s mother, Kristin Ellis, said “Working with these people made me love them so much! I can’t believe they all took time off to come help us in the heat.”
Reflecting on the project, Ella remarked, “Seeing all of these people working together to help gave me hope for humanity. I feel like it’s helping us and the people we are serving.”