Alive! Bringing Food Hub to Samuel Madden Redevelopment in Alexandria


Food nonprofit Alive! will open a food distribution center at the redeveloped Samuel Madden public housing site in Alexandria, Va, once it’s completed.

Last year, the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority chose Fairstead, Mill Creek Residential and the Communities Group to redevelop the former public housing site to create a mixed-income community with 532 apartments. 

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As part of the project, Alive!, which is dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger, will bring new supportive services to the community. Alexandria residents can visit the hub for free groceries, where they can also be provided with educational, workforce and health care services.

“Food insecurity is on the rise in Alexandria, and the emergency food benefits for low-income families that were put in place during the pandemic are about to expire,” Jenn Ayers, executive director of Alive!, said in a prepared statement. “But our mission doesn’t end with food. Once we connect with a family, we work with them to understand their needs to layer in the services they need to improve their lives.”

In Alexandria, 31 percent of families face food insecurity, according to a 2022 survey from the Capital Area Food Bank.

Located at 401 Wythe Street, the Samuel Madden public housing site was built in 1945.

The site’s 66 current homes will be redeveloped into 532 apartments. More than 50 percent of the apartments will be set aside as either affordable housing, for households earning 30 to 60 percent of area median income, or workforce housing, for those earning 60 to 80 percent of AMI. The development will also include an early learning and child care center run by Hopkins House, 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 5,000 square feet of public open space.

The plan for the development will have its final review by the Alexandria Planning Commission and City Council later this month.

Keith Loria can be reached at