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.
Take the wheel on Tuesday July 26th between 11am-6pm at BMW of Sterling. You’re invited to make a meaningful impact by test driving a new car. Whether you choose to test drive the BMW 3 Series, 7 Series, X1, or X5 – you’ll be helping those who need it most. Because when you participate, not only will you be supporting Dulles South Food Pantry, you’ll also be supporting BMW’s goal to raise up to $1.5 million for deserving charities. Check out BMW of Sterling and select the test drive sign-up link.
Make sure to sign up for your test drive on Tuesday July 26th! Representatives from the pantry will be there that day to answer your questions and thank you personally.
Thanks to generous support from the community, the Pantry is growing to better serve more families in the Dulles South region. From launching a broader service zone to increasing programs and hours, the Pantry evolves to meet the needs of the Dulles South Community.
- Serving a Broader Community – Effective June 1, 2016, the Dulles South Food Pantry has expanded its geographic boundaries to serve families in the Brambleton community, in addition to those who reside in the school attendance zones for the Freedom and John Champe High Schools. Specifically, the Pantry is now offering services to the zones that have been assigned to the new Brambleton Middle School opening in the 2017-2018 school year.
To learn more about how the pantry is expanding its boundaries, hours and summer programs, please see the blog on our website.
Since the Dulles South Food Pantry opened in June 2014, it has helped more than 1,200 guests, providing them with more than 150,000 pounds of food.
Nothing shows success more than when Pantry guests open up about the impact the organization has made on their lives―even in unanticipated ways.
For example, a guest recently shared, “Just wanted to say thank you from my family and all of my heart for the help you give us! You have inspired me to help others in need in other ways. More for the homeless and people in severe trouble.”
This guest went on to reveal, “You keep my inspiration going. Feeding my family and holding our heads up is enough for me…. There is someone in need every second of the day.”
Serving as a testament to the Pantry’s tagline, “Neighbors helping neighbors,” this story conveys the sentiment at the core of everything the Pantry does: to serve those in need.
The gala is open to the public, and all proceeds support the Pantry. Tickets are $75 and may be purchased online.
“We’re very thankful that the South Riding Women in Business chose the Pantry as the charity beneficiary of its first gala event,” said Charlene Jones, president of the DSFP. “Through this generosity, we will be able to assist more individuals in need.”
South Riding Women in Business is a philanthropic networking group comprised of active business women within the Dulles South area of Loudoun County. For more information on how to join the gala’s diamond-level sponsors, J Beauty Studio andKR Construction, as a sponsor, visit the Gala Website.