- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hundreds of loaves of bread sat in crates on the street in front of Christ Apostolic Church on Tuesday, while Leotha Woodson and other volunteers rushed to distribute the packages from the back of his truck.

The bread was part of the stock that Noah’s Ark Food Bank distributes daily to needy people and local charitable organizations.

The food bank, which for six years operated out of the church on 24th Place in Northeast Washington, was forced to move Monday.

D.C. Department of Health spokesman Dena Iverson said the group did not have a license to operate out of the warehouse that the church had allowed the food bank to occupy rent-free.

Stephen Alayode, pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, also said a recent inspection showed that the warehouse did not meet health code requirements. Miss Iverson could not confirm information about an inspection.

The food bank serves about 30,000 packages of bread each week to 300 charitable organizations and more than 150 people, amounting to more than $18 million in food given to the D.C. community annually, food bank organizers said.

But with no place to operate from, the food bank is in danger of having to shut down.

“We have one week from Monday to find a place to house our products, or we will have to stop distributing,” said Mr. Woodson, who runs the food bank with a handful of volunteers. “There are a lot of people who depend on us. If we are not there to provide for them, it is like taking food out of their mouths.”

The food bank is open Monday through Saturday, drawing large crowds each day.

“If you look at the people here, you will see that most of them are elderly,” said Anita Webster, one of the volunteers who serves at the food bank regularly. “Most of them are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to pay large amounts of money for their food. They depend on us.”

Mary Waddy and Ica Humes have been coming to the food bank once a week for the past 12 years. They and others who showed up at the food bank on Tuesday worried that they would no longer be able to get their bread and that they would have to find another place to buy it at a reduced price.

“I try to get enough to last me until the next week,” Ms. Waddy said. “I couldn’t afford to buy it at other places.”

The food bank, which draws its inventory primarily from surplus stocks at local bakeries, also distributes other types of food and clothing as well.

Prior to finding a home in the church, the food bank was housed on North Capitol Street in a building once used by the Thatcher Casket Company. That building was foreclosed upon in 2002 when vandals damaged the building and the food bank could not afford repairs.

Mr. Woodson said the only thing the group can do is ask for help.

“Many members of the community have come to me and said that if it wasn’t for the bread we give, they wouldn’t have anything to eat,” Mr. Woodson said. “We are asking the mayor and the city to come to our rescue.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide