RG 313: Records of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), 1948-2018

Collection Number
RG 313
Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) was established in 1988 by a small Public-Private Committee to provide access to nutritious, supplemental groceries to Arlington’s unemployed, under-employed, and those on fixed incomes who cannot afford to purchase enough food to meet their basic needs. Using a Red Cross van, the organization purchased food at the Capital Area Community Food Bank in Northeast D.C. and delivered it to a small, rotating list of families provided by local churches. After over a year of operating out of the van, the First Baptist Church of Clarendon offered AFAC its first fixed operating site, increasing the number of clients the organization could serve. In 1992, AFAC acquired its own full-time operating site at 2900 North Washington Boulevard. The organization moved to its current headquarters at 2708 S. Nelson Street in June 1997 to accommodate its growing operation. As of 2018, Arlington Food Assistance Center serves 2,300 families every week in Arlington, Virginia.
Scope and Content
This collection primarily contains two types of materials: Board of Directors Meeting Agendas and Notes, and correspondence and documentation relating to AFAC’s acquisition and maintenance of their office building at 2708 S. Nelson St. Additional materials include artwork and promotional materials, awards honoring AFAC, and disks containing database data. New materials will be added as they arrive. The entire collection currently measures 4.2 linear feet.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center Records cover the years 1948 to 2017, but the bulk of the materials date from 1991 to 2018.

Series 1, Board of Directors Documents holds meeting agendas and associated materials from Board of Directors meetings. Meeting agendas typically include the previous meeting’s minutes, a President’s report, a Treasurer’s report, and committee reports. Most October agendas also include audit correspondence and documentation. Additional materials include, but are not limited to, files related to board membership and AFAC staff, outreach and events, and organization bylaws and goals. AFAC’s Board of Directors’ calendar was based on fiscal year (FY), which ran from July – June (ex. FY10 is July 2009 to June 2010).

Series 2, Office Files primarily holds documents related to AFAC’s headquarters at 2708 S. Nelson Street. Items include leases for both 2900 North Washington Boulevard and 2708 S. Nelson St., renovation plans for 2708 S. Nelson St., correspondence and lease agreements with A-SPAN, studies related to AFAC’s effect on the community, and correspondence with the Arlington County Board. The series also holds four disks containing backups of AFAC’s data on Servers H and P. The original is dated 2/23/06, with additional backups dated 8/11/06, 7/19/06, and 7/3/06, respectively. It is unclear what type of data resides on these disks as the database program is out of date and cannot be opened.

Series 3 contains materials relating to awards and recognitions. This collection primary contains plaques in recognition of AFAC or plaques recognizing AFAC’s volunteers. The single photo currently in this collection is part of this series. It features 1991-1994 Board of Director’s President, William (Bill) Knull, receiving an unknown honor from an unknown woman.

Series 4, Artwork and Promotional Materials contains “Share,” a collection of 15 custom pieces of art honoring community, food, and giving. The prints were made by artists in the George Mason University Printmakers Guild, in partnership with AFAC, to raise money to fight hunger. 200 original prints were donated to AFAC, raising approximately $10,000 to combat local hunger. This collection contains one full set of prints and two additional partial sets. The partial sets are housed in homemade folders made from Whole Foods paper grocery bags. Series 4 also includes a handful of event promotional posters, as well as two paintings of food that were likely used to decorate AFAC’s offices.
Arrangement and Description
This collection is divided into five series. Series were determined by content and AFAC’s original organization of the materials. Folders in each series are labeled and arranged in the manner originally formed by AFAC. In Series 1, portions of folder titles in brackets ([]) have been added by the archivist for clarification. For Series 2, folder titles created by employees or volunteers of AFAC are put into quotes (“”), with remaining text added by the archivist for clarification. All folder titles in Series 3 and 4 were created by the archivist. As additional materials are donated, series will expand.

There are some oversized materials in this collection, which have been moved to appropriate housing. Separation sheets have been added to mark their original placement. An asterisk (*) at the end of the folder title denotes oversize materials found in this location.
The majority of the material in this collection was donated by Charles F. Meng, AFAC Executive Director & CEO (2010-present), in February 2015. Additional materials were donated by Danielle Rampton, AFAC Volunteer Coordinator, in April, July, and October 2018.
There are no research restrictions on RG 313.
Related Collections
Record Group 6, Records of Arlington County Churches, contains a folder on the First Baptist Church of Clarendon, where AFAC operated from 1989-1992.