Importantly, this is not “charity” (which too often disempowers those on the receiving end), but rather a systematic program rooted in justice and the recognition of our shared humanity. Sanctuary DMV believes that ALL immigrants have the right to live with dignity, free from the fear of detention and deportation – not just those who are model citizens, or devoted parents, or otherwise remarkable, but for the simple fact that they are human beings. A prerequisite of a life with dignity is access to adequate food, so the Food Justice Initiative is one part of our broader work to stand in solidarity with immigrants.
It began with one volunteer, who remembered Oscar. On the way to an immigration check-in, he said, “Last time, I had to take a cab and it cost me $150. Then, I had to explain to my 8 year-old daughter why we didn’t have any food.” She reached out to Oscar and discovered that he was running out of food again. Soon, it was clear that Oscar was not alone. We began receiving requests, and the waitlist quickly exploded to 2,500 people.
We don’t just offer food aid. Hyper-local food resource teams bridge the digital divide, coaching people how to find free, accessible food, while teams of volunteers text in-the-moment food distribution info to families nearby. And every weekend since the beginning of May, “Pop-Up Pantries” have been blooming across DC, Maryland and Virginia, and getting basic nutrition and supplies into the hands of families. We provide families with COVID with ongoing support and resources in Spanish. We provide furniture, baby goods, and information on doulas, therapists and legal aid.
Even though Food Justice DMV has reached over 129,000 people with more than $427,000 raised and distributed, the need far outstrips our ability to respond.
A box of basic food supplies for a family – including rice, beans, cooking oil, maseca, fruit and vegetables – costs around $70. Volunteers also check in with families before delivering the food and provide diapers, formula, medicines and other essential items when needed. Many of the volunteers provide these items with their own funds in order to serve more families, but there aren’t enough people who can cover the $500-$1000 weekly to keep delivering to 5-10 families.
Food Justice DMV has a volunteer network and process in place to help address the need, but we need more funding to continue to meet that need. Can you provide $70 to cover food for a family for 2 weeks? $120 to cover food and medicine? $500 to cover the lion’s share of a volunteer’s deliveries to 5 families? More?
Help us reach everyone on the waitlist and remove one urgent worry from the minds of so many parents trying to do what all parents want to do: care for their children.
FUNDRAISER INFO (required by GoFundMe, apologies for any repetition of information already provided above): The organizer is a resident of Washington, DC and a volunteer with Food Justice DMV, an all-volunteer colectiva delivering food and standing in solidarity with thousands of immigrant neighbors. Funds will be distributed as food/basic supplies or grocery gift cards to immigrants Food Justice DMV is in community with.
- Erin Stieber
- Guillermo Elizondo
- Susan Griffin
Fundraising team (4)
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