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German military office in Reston donates funds to feed teens facing food insecurity

Colonel Joerg Dronia takes part in the collection and sorting of food at a Herndon event (courtesy Food for Neighbors)

The Reston-based German Armed Forces Command partnered with Food for Neighbors to help tackle food insecurity among teenagers on Saturday (March 9).

The office, which serves as the German military’s liaison to the U.S. and Canada on issues related to defense technology and weapons, helped sort nearly 3,400 pounds of donations at Herndon Middle School. It also presented a donation of more than $5,500 to Food for Neighbors.

A local nonprofit organization that provides food to middle and high school students, Food for Neighbors plans to use the funds to address teen food insecurity in partnering schools throughout Northern Virginia.

“I feel honored and privileged to present this donation as our contribution to your outstanding and very important cause,” Col. Joerg Dronia, commander of the German Armed Forces Command in the U.S. and Canada, said. “The funds were raised at the 2023 Christmas Market at our HQ here in Reston. The women and men serving there, nominated your charity organization as the prime recipient. I am more than pleased to follow their suggestion to support those in need.”

This is the second year that the German Armed Forces Command worked with Food for Neighbors after the organization participated in a similar sorting event in January 2023.

Dronia said the organization sees itself as an integral part of the local community.

“I have to repeat what I said already last year: Although, we are far away from home, you all make us feel at home here in Reston,” he said at the collection and sorting event.

Food for Neighbors founder and executive director Karen Joseph said the organization currently helps 7,500 students in 47 schools.

“In addition to representing one of our greatest NATO allies, the German Armed Forces Command is an excellent example of what it means to be a good neighbor,” Joseph said. “We are one of many organizations that have benefited from their giving spirit, and we thank them for all that they do to help our most vulnerable community members.”

Nearly 65% of Herndon Middle School’s students qualify for free and reduced-price meals, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

“Our students don’t need fancy shoes. They need food and love. By coming together over food, we create a community,” Herndon Middle School Family Liaison Salazar Laske said.

Overall, the effort sorted and collected more than 26,500 pounds of food and toiletries.

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