As Wall Street continues to debate the likelihood of a recession, the past couple years of economic turmoil have already hit many Fairfax County residents in the wallet — and the stomach.
The need for food assistance remains almost as high as in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Merrifield-based nonprofit Food for Others, which saw twice as many families seeking help in 2020 compared to 2019.
To accommodate that elevated demand, Food for Others recently expanded its warehouse at 2938 Prosperity Avenue to 26,000 square feet. The 10,391-square-foot addition opened on Jan. 23 and will get a formal celebration at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday).
“Food For Others has played a vital role as a food hub for non-profits and thousands of families around the County, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik, who will be at the grand opening, said by email. “This recent expansion demonstrates their continued commitment to our families’ success.”
In addition to providing more storage and office space, the expansion has helped the nonprofit implement a revamped distribution model that lets its clients choose their own food, instead of having to accept whatever’s given to them in preassembled boxes.
The new “My Market” functions like a grocery store. Visitors walk in with a shopping cart and pick items off the shelves, which are stocked with dry and canned goods as well as perishable food, like produce and meat.
“It’s a much more dignified experience,” Food for Others Executive Director Annie Turner told FFXnow. “Before we had a situation where the volunteers were standing on a loading dock and the [clients] were down, 5 feet below them…It didn’t seem equitable having someone hand you food down.”
Food for Others first tried out the concept in 2016 and, after getting positive feedback, added a permanent market in early 2020. That much smaller site was only open for a couple of weeks before COVID-19 shut it down, but it was enough to demonstrate the model’s benefits.
“It really reduced the food waste, and families were actually taking less food, because it was the food that they really wanted,” Turner said.
Over 300 families came through the expanded market when it opened last month, according to Turner.
Distributing close to 3.7 million pounds of food last year, the nonprofit assists 225 to over 300 families per day. While demand hasn’t returned to the heights of 2020, it dwarfs the 60 to 80 families that Food for Others saw on a busy day prior to the pandemic.
Turner says requests for help started to decline in late 2021 but surged again last spring, as inflation sent prices for food, gas and other expenses soaring.
Food for Others is bracing for another influx due to federal funding running out for emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotments. The increased benefits granted recipients in response to the pandemic will end nationwide in March.
“Next week will be the last emergency allotments,” Turner said. “So, we anticipate a higher number of families once the families feel the hit of no longer getting that emergency allotment.”
With its expansion, the nonprofit has more capacity to meet the need for its existing services — and to introduce some new ones.
Using its new office space, Food for Others will partner with other nonprofits to provide everything from SNAP enrollment assistance to case management and dental care.
“We have a space in the new area that can help us provide those other services for our clients. So, we want it to be transformational and not just transactional,” Turner said.
The plan for a major residential neighborhood near the Innovation Center Metro station in the Herndon area is evolving. But the tweak won’t be approved by the Fairfax County Planning…
To further its environmental goals, Fairfax County’s to-do list should include building an electric vehicle charging network, addressing “critical” staff shortages, and addressing development pressure, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council…
Three Fairfax County Public Schools teachers will now be able to pursue unique arts projects with their students, thanks to financial assistance from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing…
Fairfax County is moving steadily towards its target of building 10,000 net new affordable housing units by 2034. The county has roughly 4,000 units built, planned or under construction that count towards the goal set in 2022, staff told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Feb. 27).
Dreaming of small-town charm with big-city convenience? Look no further than 7156 Main St in Clifton, Virginia! Nestled just 30 miles from the heart of Washington D.C., this picturesque property offers the best of both worlds.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to find tranquility in this quaint, historic town. With its tree-lined streets and friendly community atmosphere, Clifton is the perfect place to call home. Yet, with its close proximity to the nation’s capital, you’ll never be far from the excitement and opportunities of urban living.
Imagine weekends exploring local shops, dining at charming cafes, and enjoying outdoor adventures in nearby parks. Then, commute to D.C. for work or play, soaking in all the culture, entertainment, and career opportunities the city has to offer.
Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.
Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches
Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.
Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.
Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.
Participate in the 32nd Annual Van Metre 5K Run, a race that goes further than 3.1 miles, and every stride you take supports Children’s National Hospital. The Van Metre 5K Run donates 100% of proceeds to Children’s National Hospital and