A REFLECTION FROM OUR PRESIDENT & CEO
Loudoun Hunger Relief has been committed to helping our neighbors in need have enough to eat for 30 years. As we look back over three decades of service, we have to say that the last two years have been some of the hardest we’ve seen. With your help, we delivered the highest level of service and largest amount of food that we’ve ever had to provide.
The thing that stands out the most is the generosity of our community toward those who need a little help. Our volunteers, donors, community partners, and staff have risen to meet the need as it came, one family and one dinner table at a time. Over the last year, through Covid surges, mask mandates, uncertainty and economic trials, members of our community have stood ready to serve the most vulnerable among us.
For that, we have nothing but gratitude. Please read through this report, especially our Board Chair Carol Barbe’s comments about what is next for LHR. Let me know your questions and suggestions. We value your partnership and our shared commitment to making Loudoun a great place to live for everyone.
A SECOND YEAR OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Loudoun Hunger Relief has been operating in emergency response mode since March of 2020. Although the number of people needing food assistance declined from 2020 to 2021, we are still at nearly three times pre-pandemic levels. It’s been a hard two years for so many people. In 2021, 41% of the households we served had never needed services of any kind before, down from 70% in 2020, but still a substantial increase over pre-pandemic levels.
Throughout the pandemic, people who have needed food assistance have come to the pantry more frequently and for more consecutive months than pre-pandemic. A second trend we’re seeing is an increase in families who were served in the beginning of the pandemic returning to the food pantry due to the rising cost of groceries, and for some, due to a second or third round of COVID in their household.
The numbers of those in need continue to be sobering. Just when we feel there’s been progress, we seem to take two steps back. Both Delta and Omicron were setbacks for Loudoun Hunger Relief and the neighbors we serve. Various supply chain blips have caused hardship. Shortage of testing stopped people from returning to work or school for a time, and for hourly workers, that meant no paycheck. We can’t lie—there have been days in this past year that have felt both bleak and endless.
But the moments of human kindness and unity carry everyone through. The continued generosity of our volunteers, grocery store partners, farms and other food donors, as well as the financial support provided by so many, has enabled LHR to provide more food choice for families, increase available fresh produce, expand the number of items and food types consistently on hand, and provide all this at an increased number of locations around Loudoun. The sense of community that grows around food can be truly life-changing.
Overall, LHR supplied our neighbors in temporary or sustained need with 2.8 million pounds of food in 2021. We’re proud of our community for standing with us and with our neighbors through two years of hard times.
2021 LOUDOUN HUNGER RELIEF AT-A-GLANCE
Volunteers are, always have been, and always will be the heartbeat of Loudoun Hunger Relief. Even in times when rising need has challenged us, our volunteers have always been ready to serve. We honor each and every person who has given their time and energy to help others. There is really nothing purer.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OF LHR’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
I have never been prouder of an organization than I have been of Loudoun Hunger Relief in the last two years. This organization, and this community, came together in an incredible way to make things a little easier for those most impacted by the pandemic.
Low-wage, hourly workers in service industries simply could not work from home. Our retail, hospitality, cleaning services, and other frontline employees were left without income, sometimes for months on end. During this time, there was no way to make ends meet. Families faced true fear of not having enough food for their children.
Your help has never meant more.
Now, more than ever, LHR stands ready to be a key part of a better future for Loudouners in need of a helping hand. Even in the midst of a robust emergency response to the pandemic we have been turning our gaze to the years to come with hope and energy. The neighbors we serve deserve nothing less from us than our best efforts and our best planning.
Loudoun Hunger Relief is looking forward to ever closer collaboration with our community partners. These partners include fellow nonprofit human services agencies, Loudoun County government agencies, civic groups, and faith communities. There is room for everyone to serve, and we plan to have room at the table for all.
LHR is moving forward, and you can expect exciting things to unfold in the course of the next year. Our 30th Anniversary year will be far more about looking forward than looking back. We have a vision for a better community with gratitude and service as our navigators. We can’t wait for you to travel this road with us.
Yours in the fight against hunger,
Carol A. Barbe
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Carol Barbe – Chair
BACKFLOW TECHNOLOGY, LLC
Tom Ciolkosz – Vice Chair
ATLANTIC UNION BANK
Roman Blazauskas – Treasurer
SPEED PRO IMAGING – NOVA
Charlie McQuillan – Secretary
OCTO CONSULTING GROUP
MARKETING & PR CONSULTANT
Lorna Campbell Clarke
STEADMAN ALEXANDER PR
Rose Ann Domenici
QTS DATA CENTERS
Magdalene Johnson Obaji
PRESIDENT & CEO,
A SALESFORCE COMPANY
HOLLAND & KNIGHT
ROWELL & COMPANY
LOUDOUN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE