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Nonprofit expands to Reston with new food distribution site

Better A Life has officially launched a food distribution site in Reston (courtesy Better A Life)

A Loudoun County nonprofit organization is expanding into Reston with a new food distribution site at Cathy Hudgins Community Center.

Better A Life plans to give out food every Wednesday at noon at the community center, followed by the launch of cooking classes in March. The organization also plans to start a homework club, which includes a free hot dinner for children each week and the mentors that assist them.

For Better A Life president and founder Elizabeth Ford, the expansion into Reston is personal. She grew up in Reston as a “child of hunger,” Ford said.

Her mother, who was a single mom, lost the townhouse where they lived in Southgate Square. After moving several times, Ford says she was permanently kicked out of her home when her mother moved overseas with her new husband. She then lived in a Red Rood Inn in Manassas and eventually became homeless.

“I used to sit at the 7-11 outside of Shadow Wood apartments and bum quarters for my food each day,” Ford said. “There were no resources for kids like me to get free food that any of us kids knew of. They finally opened The Pit over behind the police station…and I lived with my friend in Bowman Towne for most of my days as a young teen. This would give us a place to hang out safely.”

Ford went on to get a bachelor’s degree in information technology. Now in a position to help others, she says she wanted to bring more resources to the community.

Based in Purcellville, Better a Life provides food and educational assistance for kids and families with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty.

“My programs are selected from experience,” Ford said. “I needed all the above, so my nonprofit BetterALife runs off the three programs (Growth4ALife, Cook4ALife, InspireALife) to help the children learn they can make it; there is hope, and they are loved and never forgotten.”

In addition to supporting 12 schools in Loudoun and Fairfax counties with weekend lunches, shoes, socks, blankets and other necessities, the nonprofit made its Reston introduction with a meals and toy distribution event on Dec. 16. The Reston expansion will officially launch on March 1.

The organization is seeking volunteers, particularly high school juniors and seniors. Applicants can email admin@betteralife.org for more information.

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