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The CAFB’s 40th Anniversary: Food Moves Us Forward

By Radha Muthiah January 15, 2020

Forty years ago today, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, a group of interfaith leaders from across the region opened the doors of a new organization – among the first of its kind – as a response to the hunger they had seen developing in the communities around them. Following significant cuts to the food stamp program, now known as SNAP, the Capital Area Food Bank and its network began to assist people across the city and the surrounding suburbs who were reeling from the impact.

Our goal then, as it is now: to ensure that people have the food they need to thrive.

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past 40 years – providing better quality food, expanding the quantity and variety of foods sourced, expanding distribution options and channels throughout the region to make it easier for clients to access, and better targeting areas and clients in need. Our original and continuous grounding in social justice as the reason for our work is inspiring, and it’s with all this incredible history behind us that we begin the next stage of our journey.

As we celebrate the past, we’re also compelled to think about our future, and the future of our clients.  What will this region look like ten years from now?  Who are the new partners we might engage with?  What types of food and prepared meals will we provide? How will technology allow us to work differently and give our clients greater convenience as they obtain their food?  How might we use our volunteers differently?

We also have the ability to go beyond addressing hunger to help our clients achieve brighter futures.

We live in a region that is growing, with many jobs that are at a living wage.  But there is a gap between the skills and abilities of our clients and those in demand. There is so much we can do help remove these barriers for our clients to help them achieve these brighter futures:

  1. More culturally- and age-appropriate food to support our clients through their life continuum and meet their dietary preferences.
  2. Enabling access to healthy food in communities that need it most to support convenience for those who are time- and transport-constrained.
  3. Programs that bundle food with other partner-provided services like health, skill building, and education to ensure convenience and greater likelihood of wellness and achievement.
  4. Our technology-enhanced supply chain enabling greater efficiencies that allow food to more accurately and quickly go from source to table.
  5. Continuing to excite and engage our community and show the role that they can play in supporting these brighter futures.
In more ways than one, food moves us all forward.

Food not only nourishes and sustains each one of us – it is the fuel that propels our lives and makes every other thing possible, including the bright futures we all hope for. This belief has driven our work since day one forty years ago, and continues to drive us now.  Today and every day, Food Moves Us Forward.

To learn more about how we’re commemorating our 40th year, sign up for the CAFB Fresh News newsletter to hear stories from our community and to stay up-to-date on events and more. You can also click here to see more ways to get involved.