Capital Area Food Bank

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The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest non-profit food bank in the Washington, D.C. area and a member of America's Second Harvest. In addition to serving the area with food, it also provides nutritional education to the local community. As a result, Washingtonian magazine named it one of the twenty best charities in the region.[1] The Capital Area Food Bank, like most food banks, operates with the assistance of volunteers from the area; annually over 12,000 donate their time to help sort food, teach classes, and perform other tasks for the food bank.[1] The Capital Area Food Bank also works with other organizations in the area dedicated to providing food to residents from Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland.


The Capital Area Food Bank's warehouse of Northeast Washington

The Capital Area Food Bank was founded on January 15, 1980 to coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s fifty-first birthday.[2] Prior to that time, the United States government's Food Stamp Program had been the city's primary source of assisting hungry residents.[3] However, cutbacks in the Food Stamp Program planned for the early 1980s led to the food bank's inception by two local organizations, the United Planning Organization and the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.[2] In its first year of operation, the food bank managed to offer food to almost one hundred organizations and deliver 1,540 pounds (700 kilograms) of food each month.[1][2] Throughout the rest of the 1980s, the Capital Area Food Bank to proceeded to prosper as it partnered with nearby corporations, such as The Washington Post.

In 1991, the Capital Area Food Bank opened a new warehouse in the Brookland neighborhood in northeast Washington, D.C.. The new 48,000-square-foot (4,500 m2)[2] warehouse is more than three times as large as the food bank's original 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) warehouse and continues to serve the Capital Area Food Bank today. In 1998, the food bank opening another warehouse, in Lorton, Virginia, which has since served the needs of residents of Northern Virginia.[2]

In 1981, just over one million pounds (460,000 kilograms) were processed by the Capital Area Food Bank. Less than twenty-five years later, in 2005, the food bank outputs over 20 million pounds (9 million kilograms) of food to over 275,000 people, making it the largest food bank in the area.[2][4]

In 2007, the Capital Area Food Bank distributed 20 million pounds of food and served approximately 383,000 people in the Washington metro area.

Political importance[edit]

U.S. President George W. Bush visits the Capital Area Food Bank's Washington warehouse in 2002

Due to its central location near the seat of the United States government, the Capital Area Food Bank has been a popular stop for politicians. Four consecutive U.S. presidents — George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack H. Obama — have visited the food bank.

About ten tons of broccoli were donated by Barbara Bush in 1990

In 1990, sitting president George H.W. Bush banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One, stating that "I'm President of the United States. And I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."[5] In response to the ban, an estimated ten tons of broccoli were sent to the White House, which Barbara Bush in turn donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. That same year, the president visited the food bank and incorporated it into his Points of Light Foundation.[2]

On Inauguration Day, 1993, more than thirty-five thousand cans, including one from Tipper Gore, were collected for the Capital Area Food Bank.[2] In 1999, President Bill Clinton visited the food bank to volunteer and George W. Bush duplicated that act in 2002.[6] Likewise, less than two weeks before Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush visited the Capital Area Food Bank to encourage Americans to participate in charitable activities.[2][7] Other politicians have shown their support for the food bank by donating or otherwise promoting the cause of the Capital Area Food Bank. In 2005, for example, Maryland and Virginia Congressmen Chris Van Hollen, Steny Hoyer, Jim Moran, Frank Wolf, and Albert Wynn were successful in requesting US$1.3 million in federal funds for the food bank.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions". The Capital Area Food Bank. Archived from the original on 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Chronology" (PDF). Capital Area Food Bank. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  3. ^ "About Us: CAFB History". The Capital Area Food Bank. Archived from the original on 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  4. ^ a b "Capital Area Food Bank to Receive Federal Funds". The U.S. House of Representatives. 2005-11-18. Archived from the original on 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  5. ^ "What's Your Beef?". PBS. 1998-01-20. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  6. ^ "President Visits D.C. Food Bank". The White House. 2002-12-19. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  7. ^ "Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Capital Area Food Bank's Souper Bowl of Caring". The White House. 2004-01-22. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 

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