It may seem surprising, but many individuals and families in our area are affected by hunger. Please explore the JFE resources and take action today to help by donating and volunteering. More stories about fighting hunger can be found here.

It’s a bad economy. You suddenly lose your job. Bills start piling up. Barely getting by turns to not getting by. Sooner than you can imagine, your cupboards and refrigerator are empty—and you don’t have the money to replenish them.

Some of us already know how fast hunger can happen. Some of us may be lucky enough to never find out. Whatever category you’re in, more and more of our friends and neighbors are struggling to feed themselves and their families, and the New Year offers the perfect opportunity to come to their aid.

Volunteering at local food banks, shelters and charitable food services is a popular tradition around the holidays, but fighting hunger is a year-round battle. Whether you’re a pro at chopping vegetables, cooking casseroles or lifting heavy boxes, all of us can become foot soldiers in the fight against hunger.

Hunger-fighting volunteer opportunities in the DC metro area are as diverse as volunteers themselves. In many cases, you don’t even need to cook. Here’s just a sampling of what’s available. Looking for more opportunities to fight hunger? Explore our resource list. Just a little of your time can go a long way toward keeping people from falling to the bottom of hunger’s slippery slope.

Driving

Providing everything from daycare, clothing and food to homeless and low-income children and families since 1980, Washington-based Martha’s Table’s most immediate volunteer need is trained drivers for its mobile soup kitchen, McKenna’s Wagon. Training takes two to three weeks, and volunteers must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license. For more information, email myalew@marthastable.org or call 202-328-6608 ext. 212.

Off-Site Meal Preparation

First Turkey

Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless volunteer Jacomijn Kuiper prepared and coordinated with friends and neighbors to cook a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for clients at the coalition’s Home Builders Care Assessment Center men’s emergency shelter.

Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, which provides shelter, housing, food and services homeless and formerly homeless men, women and children in Montgomery County, needs an astounding 85,000 meals each year to assure none of its 1,600 clients go hungry. This need is met by the generosity of volunteers who purchase supplies and prepare meals off-site, then drop them off at the Rockville-based shelter. Popular among a variety of groups, it’s the perfect team-building activity for corporations or congregations with large on-site kitchens. Individuals can also cook parts of the meals at home and gather all the contributions together for drop-off of complete meals. For more information, email naira@mcch.net or call 301-917-6658.

Administrative, Warehouse and “Food Rescue”

Feeding Northern Virginia’s hungry since 1995,Fairfax-based Food for Others depends on volunteers to assist with most of its daily tasks, from administrative and warehouse duties to saving overstocked goods from area grocers that would otherwise go to waste as part of its food rescue team. Whatever your interests—perhaps gleaning fresh produce from area farmer’s markets and harvesting produce from USDA farms—chances are Food for Others can put your talents to good use. For more information, email nclifford@foodforothers.org or call 703-207-9173.

Dinner at Homeless Home Builders Care Assessment Center men's emergency shelter

Longtime meal donors from Gaithersburg-based Church of the Redeemer serve dinner at the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless Home Builders Care Assessment Center men’s emergency shelter.

Food Donation

Even if you’re short on time, you can still be a great source of help—and hope—for those who are hungry. So Others Might Eat (SOME) has an immediate need for non-perishable food items for individuals and families in Washington. Suggested food items include proteins (canned meats, peanut butter, beans), grain products (pasta, instant oatmeal, instant potatoes) and much more. To view drop-off location, times to donate and a full list of non-perishable food items, visit some.org or call 202-797-8806.