Washington, D.C. police officers will be hosting a food pantry at the corner of Martin Luther King Avenue and Melon Street, Southeast next Wednesday at 11 a.m. Local residents can walk up and ask the officers for items.

“It’s not just about groceries, it’s how you make people feel. And that goes for the officers as well as citizens from the community,” Code 3 Association Executive Director Joseph Abdalla said.

He said the Code 3 Association began hosting the food pantries weekly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have now shifted to once or twice monthly. About 20 narcotics branch officers and detectives will participate.

“The D.C. police chief strongly encourages his officers to participate in community outreach and there are a large number of officers that bring their families as well. Officers want to take part in changing their perception in the community,” Abdalla said.

“There will be enough food to fill about 10 large tables. We set it up identical to a grocery store neatly stacked. Dry goods and some perishables,” he said.

Abdalla also said that on Thursday, the association and police will have an ice cream social where they give out ice cream to the community.

“We try and set up the food pantries in areas where resources are needed. A six-year-old was killed in a drive-by last weekend in this neighborhood,” Abdalla said.

The Code 3 Association was founded in 2015 to improve relations between police and their communities. It is funded by the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, linked to former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Shelby Davis.

“Code 3 is an organization that believes neighborhoods thrive when police officers and communities work together to solve local issues,” Abdalla said.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network.  Email tips to eburk@vastarnews.com.