Haymarket Regional Food Pantry & Mt. Kim Black Dragon Martial Arts partner for a cause
Operation Kicking Out Hunger is a partnership between Mt. Kim Black Dragon Martial Arts and Haymarket Regional Food Pantry. The initial goal of this partnership was to collect 250 pounds of nonperishable food during the week of May 8 through May 13.
On the first day of the food drive, the students brought in 190 pounds of food. The goal of 250 pounds was achieved on day three, and a new goal of 300 pounds was set. By the final day of the drive, the Mt. Kim Black Dragon Martial Arts community had collected 403 pounds of food for the Haymarket Regional Food Pantry.
Items that the Black Dragon students brought in consisted of peanut butter, rice, soup, macaroni and cheese, pasta, ramen, cereal, and pasta sauce. These items are in heavy demand by the Haymarket Food Pantry, which serves over 600 families and individuals in need—approximately 2,500 people per month. Approximately one third of the individuals served are children. Director Eileen Smith states that the food pantry distributes over 900 boxes of macaroni and cheese each week.
The Haymarket Food Pantry is located at 6611 Jefferson St. in Haymarket. Any organization can help with funding the rent (close to $4,000 per month) or food costs (also totaling about $4,000 per month). Donating groups can expect to be recognized for their contributions on the pantry’s website, www.haymarketfoodpantry.org. The food pantry received a bit of coverage recently from NBC 4 due to a need for food items. The pantry received quite a lot of food, but this will quickly be used. Summer is a historically low food collection period, which is doubly bad as children who receive free/reduced lunch from school are not able to access breakfast or lunch since school is not in session. Businesses can also be a donation center for food items if they are interested. More information about partnerships and donation can be found at the food pantry’s website listed above.
Mt. Kim Black Dragon Martial Arts is a taekwondo dojang run by Master James An (a fifth degree black belt) and his wife, Master Jin Kim (JK) (a sixth degree black belt). Both masters grew up and trained in Korea, and are world taekwondo certified. “This is all part of what we teach our students. We want them to have a respect for others,” said Master James An. “Taekwondo does not just encompass the physical. There is more important mental aspect. To be a true martial artist is to have a mindset of being aware of—and a respect for—oneself as well as other people.” Instructor Christensen said, “We teach the students to never give up and to have an indomitable spirit. This food drive is a way to broaden their horizons and to teach them to start thinking outside of themselves.”
Located in the Heathcote Harris Teeter shopping center complex, Mt. Kim Black Dragon Martial Arts’ address is 13863 Heathcote Blvd. in Gainesville. Along with information about taekwondo classes for adults and children, class schedules, summer camp, and kickboxing classes, the masters’ contact information as well as a detailed listing of their certifications and awards can be found at www.mtkimblackdragon.com or call 703-753-0500.
About the Author:
Tisha Sipe is on the Board of Directors at the Food Pantry and is also a student of Black Dragon Martial Arts