Record number of families received Thanksgiving meals due to expanded facilities
November 28, 2017 ― Dulles, Va. ― The November 15 Thanksgiving distribution at the Dulles South Food Pantry marked its busiest day since its inception, due in large part to its expanded kitchen facilities.
Through generous grants from 100 Women Strong and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank along with donations from Mid South Building Supply and the community, the Pantry updated its facility to incorporate two new freezers and a new cooler. These new appliances allow the Pantry to integrate additional fresh and frozen offerings into food donations for guests. They remain fully stocked from community donations, so that the Pantry can present healthy, perishable choices to its guests, in addition to the standard non-perishable offerings.
With this additional space for keeping frozen and refrigerated items, Pantry volunteers delivered complete Thanksgiving meal options at the special distribution on November 15. Ultimately, the Pantry served more than 145 families in one sitting, helping to provide a Thanksgiving dinner to those who otherwise wouldn’t have had one.
“At the Thanksgiving distribution, one of our guests pushed her young son into the Pantry in a stroller, sharing that she’d walked more than three miles to get there,” said Charlene Jones, president of the Dulles South Food Pantry. “She was there for the distribution, but then realized she had no way to carry her food back with her. A Pantry volunteer stepped up, and with her permission, brought it to her home later that day. This is the Pantry’s mission at work: Neighbors helping neighbors.”
The Pantry will offer the community a sneak peek into its mission in action at a holiday open house. Taking place on Sunday, December 10 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., the open house will serve as the official ribbon-cutting of the new kitchen at the Pantry’s distribution center, 24757 Evergreen Mills Road, Dulles, VA 20166. Dulles South political leaders and other dignitaries have been invited as part of the ceremony, where the support of local organizations will be recognized. In addition, Pantry volunteers will provide a tour of the new facilities, update the community on the Pantry’s reach and impact, and answer any questions. Members of the community and media are encouraged to attend.
“The open house is our way of thanking our giving community, as well as showing how far we’ve come in just a few short years. We’re proud of our expansion and the impact it has had,” said Jones.
The Pantry’s reach has increased significantly this year, with expectations of continued growth. From January 1 through mid-November, the Pantry has been visited 2,039 times by families seeking food, a 16 percent increase over 2016 annual numbers a full month-and-a-half before the year’s close. In addition, the number of people who have received assistance through the Pantry thus far this year has increased 20 percent over 2016’s year-end totals. Analyzing visits further, children (ages 18 and younger) make up 46 percent of Pantry guests. Additional updates will be provided at the holiday open house.
Located at Arcola United Methodist Church on Evergreen Mills Road, the Pantry is open to distribute food every Wednesday by appointment. It also opens to receive food donations every Monday from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.; every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Additional drop-off locations and options can be found on the Pantry’s website.
To donate, volunteer or learn more about the Dulles South Food Pantry, visit https://www.dsfp.org/.
About Dulles South Food Pantry
The Dulles South Food Pantry, a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is a multi-faith emergency food pantry. We provide nutritious food, personal supplies and other services to those in need in Dulles South and the surrounding area regardless of income, faith or other criteria and strive to promote self-sufficiency. Donations to the Dulles South Food Pantry are tax deductible. For more information, visit https://www.dsfp.org/.