Food for the Needy is HACSI’s flagship program. Since 2007, even before HACSI was formally incorporated, volunteers of HACSI and nearly three dozen religious, cultural organizations affiliated with HACSI, had been preparing meals at the DC Central Kitchen, Washington D.C between 24-30 times a year. HACSI organized and coordinated these efforts with 5000 meals being cooked on each occasion and 120,000 meals annually. HACSI and its affiliates provided more than a million meals during 2007-2017. Since the Spring of 2020, due to the restrictions necessitated by COVID pandemic, DCCK has suspended the involvement of volunteers (such as those provided by HACSI) and is totally relying on its salaried staff in the preparation of meals. HACSI continues to support DCCK through cash grants to meet the additional costs incurred in hiring new staff. HACSI’s grants to DCCK amounted to $27500 in 2020, and $6500 during January-June, 2021.
HACSI announced a plan to expand its Food for the Needy activities in 2018. Starting January 2019, HACSI volunteers took over the responsibility of providing lunch to about 75 persons at Baileys Crossroads Community Hall in Northern Virginia, in partnership with New Hope Housing Organization. In March 2019, HACSI entered into a partnership with six “HELP” organizations in Montgomery County, which have been donating canned food to needy families for the last four to five decades. They are: BETHESDA HELPS, GAITHERSBURG HELPS, GERMANTOWN HELPS, OLNEY HELPS, ROCKVILLE HELPS, and WUMCO which covers western suburbs of Montgomery County. HACSI created a network of volunteers to gather canned food items and deliver them to the pantries operated by these HELP organizations. The response in 2019 was encouraging and the Program was expected to become an important component of HACSI’s Food for the Needy activity. However, since the onset of the COVID pandemic, it is not feasible for HACSI to deploy its volunteers for the collection of canned food. HACSI has temporarily suspended the canned food collection drive, and is providing cash grants to five Montgomery County HELPS to buy canned goods for distribution among their clients in need of food assistance. HACSI‘s grants to HELPS amounted to $15000 during 2020, and $7500 during January-June, 2021.