Thrive DCThrive DC

Thrive DC

Thrive DC™, an independent food pantry located in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., has a simple mission: to provide nutritious meals to anyone and everyone who enters the facility — no questions asked.

“Our motto is that nobody will leave here hungry,” says Alicia Horton, executive director of Thrive DC, which has operated in the area for more than 40 years. “If you come in, we’re going to make sure you get something to eat ... I don’t care who you are or what your circumstances are, you should not have to go hungry.”

Last year, in addition to fluid milk donations, DFA donated a refrigerator to Thrive DC, which the pantry now uses to store fresh dairy products for its clientele — a luxury that was not possible prior to this donation. Most food banks offer only shelf-stable milk and powdered milk due to a lack of cold storage, so people are thrilled to discover a gallon of fresh milk or a package of cheese in their weekly grocery pickup from Thrive DC.

“People get very excited to see dairy,” Alicia says. “It’s the small things in life that people look forward to. What happens is people come in, and we give them dairy, and they go tell their friends ‘They have milk!’ — and then their friends come in, and we run out! Word-of-mouth travels.”

Due to the high number of people Thrive DC serves within the district, this extra cold storage is essential. Shortly after receiving the donated refrigerator from DFA, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and Thrive DC’s need for donations to keep up with new demand rose by 400%. Nearly 300 gallons of fresh milk make it to families in need each week, something Alicia says would not have been possible prior to this donation.

“The additional cold storage was critical,” she says. “We would not have been able to provide the proteins that are so important to people and the milk we were getting in if we hadn’t had that additional cold storage. Without the generous donations from DFA, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of it.”

Thrive DC provides support to people in need of assistance to ultimately help them work their way back to independence. While providing nutritious meals is a huge aspect of that, Thrive DC offers many other services, including showers and laundry machines and employment training with customer service and culinary training programs. Thrive DC also offers confidential services to survivors of domestic abuse and special meal kits for children with more kid-friendly foods.

“We were so appreciative of this out of the blue donation,” Alicia says. “I hope that DFA knows the tremendous difference they made in the lives of so many people they will never meet and never see. People were literally lined around our building who needed food, and we were able to give them quality pantry items because of DFA. You guys really stepped up in a big way, and we are thankful.”

Food banks rely on donations from organizations like the DFA Cares Foundation to keep shelves and refrigerators stocked. You can make a difference by MAKING A DONATION to DFA Cares.