From its very beginning, Action Africa has had consistent mission outreach in the
DC-Maryland-Virginia region (DMV) especially targeting the needs of new
immigrants. Action Africa has assisted with housing and medical needs, and made
needed contacts with agencies in our area sourcing for help in support of many
individuals. In the course of our work, we also opened up communication with other
agencies for partnership to source for equipment, supplies and other resources for
our local and international programs. Gifts-in-kind are part of our ongoing services,
sources of support, and mission.
Action Africa has had to fill-in applications and submit information about its
activities and programs. We continued to demonstrate that this organization has
maintained its tax-exempt status, and remains committed to its mission. We are a
501-c-3 Charity and we continue to submit our financial and audited statements to
the Internal Revenue Service annually. Based here in the Nation’s capital, we also
adhere meticulously to the requirements placed on us by the Government of the
District of Columbia. We must file for the bi-annual corporation registration
renewal; the property tax filings; the occupancy permits; the business license
certificates; and the Clean Hands certificates. We do all this! Action Africa has also
continued to work hand in hand with its sister-organization, the Amen Foundation,
in the development, planning, and implementation of this food security program, as
well as other general human wellness programs.
For several years in a row, Action Africa received large donations of pandemic
survival products from the Lockheed Martin Health Systems Corporation. As we
shipped much of these PPEs to our service locations in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, we
also kept some quantities in our storage in the DMV for possible future uses. When
COVID-19 hit unexpectedly, we accessed these stored products and made them
available to people on the front line in the health care facilities around here. This
was an early saving grace for hundreds of people that we are associated with in our
local mission. Note that the DMV has a remarkably high concentration of medical
workers that are people of African decent, many of whom benefited from our early
As the pandemic effects persisted, Action Africa liaised and partnered with local
food distribution channels to receive, process and help distribute food and
nutritional supplies to many of these immigrant families. These include immigrants
from Africa, South and Central America, Asia, Europe. We were also dealing with
some cultural hangovers. Many African families, for example, in-spite of their many
needs, didn’t go out in public and stand in line to request for food. In some cases
their children went hungry because their parents did not want to be seen as needy.
Action Africa’s distribution method made it easy for these families to pick up food
supplies late evenings or late night at more private locations.
This food program which began with Action Africa picking boxes with our private
vehicles from local churches and other distribution areas has grown so much and so
fast. From about twenty-five boxes of food items a week at the end of 2020, Action
Africa and its immediate partners currently transport over 300 boxes of different
food supplies to its distribution sites each week. These are mostly perishable goods
that should be distributed within a couple of days. These food supplies include but
not limited to bakery products, fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen poultry,
assorted fresh and frozen meats, bagged and boxed salads, canned foods, cooked
meals etc. These supplies are donated through different warehouse and grocery
channels operated by large chains such as Trader Joes, SafeWay, Giant, Wegmans,
Whole Foods, local bakeries, and other warehouses. We continue to expand our
sources. Our ability to receive more, pick up more, and share more has been limited
to not having adequate means for picking up and transporting of goods to our
various food distribution sites. For example, a call from a food warehouse at 7 am to
pickup 12 pallet loads of Idaho potatoes, which must be picked up within 2 hours
will not be possible with 2 volunteers who have their sedans or SUVs. The maximum
they could pickup is one and half pallets.
We have currently established several locations for food distribution, which
includes: 2 locations in the NE DC, one location in Cheverly MD, one location in
Landover MD, one location in Riverdale Maryland, and 3 locations in Alexandria VA.
There are other possible locations when we are able to move more food from the
warehouses including some area church pantries.
The need for adequate transportation for picking up food from different warehouses
is now critical. The warehouses have encouraged us that since we have credible
functioning distribution networks, they will continue to increase the quantity of
their food donations if only we have a bigger and more reliable means of
transportation to pick up supplies. On a few occasions, we went out and rented U-
Haul trucks in the process to facilitate this process as a proof of concept. The
process worked out quite efficiently as we were able to pick up more supplies more
timely, and delivered them more efficiently to our various locations. Renting trucks
will not be a sustainable method long term.
The value of the donated supplies is very impressive. One recent one-day pick-up of
fresh and frozen poultry and other meats by volunteers of Action Africa was
estimated at the value of $8,000 – just in one day. That is: this amount of food was
donated through us to so many families in our area in just one day.
We have just learned that the government food program for needy families (SNAP) is
about to be scaled back. This implies that food accessibility to needy families will be
more challenged. Our food distribution program will be on high demand to meet the
needs of many needy families. We know for a fact already that in a section of Prince
Georges County MD that we thought was wealthy enough to not need similar help,
people still drive through our food donation sites late night and well through
midnight to get free supplies for their families.
Action Africa is looking for funding to purchase a good used 14 or 15ft (or similar)
BOXED TRUCK. We just have to have one of these in order to be called by the
warehouses for regular and sizeable pick-ups. We have worked so hard to reach this
level of recognition and getting a truck will solidify our access and distribution
capacity. This vehicle will be fully dedicated for picking up food supplies from
various collaborating warehouses and food channels such as Trader Joes, Wegmans,
Giant, Whole Foods, and local bakeries. Volunteers will sort and prepare the
packages for pickup by families. The truck will deliver the supplies to our various
distribution locations for convenient and faster pick up by families in need.
Action Africa and Amen Foundation volunteers will drive the truck to locations as
needed. We will solicit donations to cover cost of gas, maintenance, and occasional
stipends for service personnel. It is estimated that this service program will
continue to operate long term.
For more information, please contact:
Fatmata Egbulem, MSW
CEO, Action Africa Inc.
Pierre Bergeron, Esq.
Development Director, Action Africa Inc.