Food for Others opens expanded, ‘grocery store-like’ space for increased demand

Northern Virginia-based food bank Food for Others opened a new expanded facility on Thursday that includes a grocery-store like shopping experience for people that rely on them.

The 10,391-square-foot expansion includes “My Market,” a space for people to pick out food for themselves from shelves and coolers.

“Until now, people have just come to the warehouse and received a box of food,” said Glenn Rosenthal, a donor and volunteer with the food bank. “This enables them to come into a facility where they can choose their own food with dignity.”

Giving people those choices and allowing them to shop for their own food is important, executive director Annie Turner told WTOP.

“It’s difficult to come to a food pantry. It takes a lot of courage,” she said. “And so to provide a place that’s less institutional and more like a grocery store, it’s more welcoming. It’s more respectful.”

Turner said the space also allows them to serve more people and the need has been growing. In 2022, the organization distributed 3.7 million pounds of food to 49,893 households, a 28% increase from the year before.

“Back in March when inflation hit and the gas prices, food prices skyrocketed, that’s when we started seeing the uptick again up to 200, 250 (families) per day,” Turner said.

Clients become eligible to shop at the market though U.S. Department of Agriculture support, or with a referral.

Turner also said the market distributed 82,000 pounds of food in its first two weeks.

Stetson Miller

Stetson Miller is an anchor and reporter for WTOP. He has worked in TV newsrooms for the last several years in New York, Baltimore, Washington and Charleston, SC.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up