This month, we’d like to tell you about a couple of important upcoming events that directly help our local community. Mark your calendars, and please consider donating. Also, you could help us win $1000!
Give Choose is a 24-hour online fundraising event by the Community Foundation for Loudoun & Fauquier Counties for local nonprofits. Last year, you helped us raise $500 by tweeting! This year, we hope to win the $1000 prize for the most donations scheduled between April 18 – May 1, 2017.
For more information about organizing a food drive for the Pantry, please contact Cathy Garber, our Food Drive Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Crossroads Jobs helps area residents to find jobs to earn living wages in Loudoun County. The only free job placement service of its type in the County, Crossroads offers a comprehensive process—from orientation to placement—with resume and interviewing workshops, job search services, and interview coordination with candidate and employer follow-ups. Check out this flyer for upcoming orientation dates. Some of the sessions are held in the chapel at Arcola UMC where the Pantry is located. You can get more information about Crossroads here.
Computer CORE visits the Pantry to share information with our guests about their classes on basic computer skills. Adults over 18 can learn Microsoft Office 2010 as well as skills to find job openings online and write resumes and cover letters. Classes meet twice per week for three hours each from February to June (~20 weeks) at Herndon UMC, at Connections for Hope in Herndon, at INMED in Sterling, and in five other locations in Fairfax County. Check out this flyer for information about upcoming sessions. Visit Computer CORE online at: www.computercore.org.
As described in our Mission Statement, the Pantry is a non-denominational, multi-faith organization, and we support our Dulles South neighbors in need, regardless of faith, income, or other criteria. The support and partnership of many of our community’s faith-based organizations enable the Pantry’s volunteers to successfully do what we do, whether through direct donations by their congregations or through a variety of volunteer services, such as helping with food distributions, organizing events, packing Friday Food packs, or shuttling guests. As we kick off a new year at the Pantry, it is so important to us to recognize the good works of our Faith Supporters, who contribute significantly to our mission to feed our hungry neighbors. For more details about the many things they do to make such an important impact and to help the Pantry meet our goals, read more here.
A guest recently sent a note to the Pantry. “Thank you for everything that you do! Our family really appreciates your efforts and hard work serving the community. You guys have been a blessing to our family and I hope someday we can give back as well. From the outside, we may not seem like a family struggling financially. I try hard to put some normalcy in our lives and eliminating the stress of putting food on the table gives us a break in dealing with the other stuff. My husband has lost his job and hasn’t found something that pays regularly and with benefits…I just wanted to say how thankful I am for being there and not letting me worry about providing basic food, especially for my kids.”
Thanks to your generous donations of time, money, and food, the Pantry is growing in its ability to help families like this one.
Food insecurity has become a top concern in our area, even as Loudoun County has ranked among the nation’s wealthiest each year. Related to the research and data shared at the event, Jones said, “I was startled to hear that 4 out of 10 food insecure families in Loudoun don’t qualify for SNAP (food stamps) or free school lunch because their household income is too great. The cost of living is so high in Loudoun that ineligible families still can’t afford food.”
The employees at the Starbucks in the Eastgate Shopping Center in South Riding Virginia aren’t just serving up Grande Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiatos, they are serving up a helping hand to the local community. Every Wednesday morning, volunteers from the Dulles South Food Pantry stop by there to pick up fresh bakery items to distribute to Pantry guests later that day.
Since the program began four months ago, Starbucks has donated over eighty pounds of food to the Pantry. The items being donated range from bagels to banana bread to croissants. “These are a real treat for our guests. People struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table appreciate having fresh baked goods in addition to the canned food normally distributed by the Pantry”, explains Charlene Jones, Pantry President. The program began when employees, led by Jessie Johnson, saw good food going in the trash. With the support of store manager, Maria James and district manager, Evie Szafirska, Johnson contacted the Dulles South Food Pantry to see if the food could be used.
Mike Donaldson, host of At Loudoun Podcast Magazine, interviewed Pantry President Charlene Jones in September 2016. To listen to the podcast, go to At Loudoun’s website http://atloudoun.com/podcast/charlene-jones-dulles-south-food-pantry-episode-30/ . Listen on your way to work or when you have some extra time. It is a great summary of how the Pantry started, who the Pantry helps, why the Pantry is important to the community and how you can get involved. There are so many different people, businesses, and organizations that are helping to run the Pantry. “It takes the whole community to make this work”, President Jones explains. This is a great reminder to all of us why we need to help in our community. To paraphrase what host Donaldson says, “If you aren’t motivated to help after listening to this podcast, then you probably should stop listening.” This is a must listen to for all of our current volunteers or prospective volunteers, as a reminder of the Pantry’s mission and the importance of serving the community. To hear more Loudoun news, visit At Loudoun’s webiste at www.atloudoun.com.
Join local charities and leaders who are addressing the needs of the hungry in our county at the 2016 Loudoun Hunger Summit – Together At The Table. Gain an in-depth understanding of hunger issues in Loudoun County, track emerging US Policies affecting food insecurity and learn more about regional approaches to food insecurity. The event is co-hosted by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties and Loudoun Interfaith Relief. The event will be held on Friday, October 14th from 9:30am to 2:30pm at a Loudoun location to be announced. Registration materials and information will be available on the Community Foundation’s website at www.communityfoundationlf.org. If you would like to attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.