Masked People Providing Groceries

Here we are, with everyone else, 12 weeks into this new reality. We’re doing our best to supply food to those who need it in Loudoun County. For us, this has meant expanding services, adding locations, fitting more appointments into each day, and radically changing the way we work.

The masks are essential equipment. (Shout out to everyone who provided home made masks for us early on, and to the United Way of the National Capital Area for the box of masks they sent today). Continue reading “Masked People Providing Groceries”

A marathon AND a sprint….

Loudoun Hunger Relief is moving forward to meet the growing need. Every day brings a new challenge. The need for services is growing just at the time that we can’t allow volunteers in the building. We know this is a marathon, but we’re also having to accelerate at a sprinter’s pace to meet the demand for services.

Market Room use during COVID-19 crisis
Market Room before COVID-19 crisis

We planned for this crisis, and our emergency planning has served us well.  We’ve kept pace so far, and we’re working to make sure we can keep it up in the weeks (hopefully not months!) to come.

Continue reading “A marathon AND a sprint….”

It’s a new day

It’s a new day in so many ways in our world right now. At Loudoun Hunger Relief, we are continuing to adapt to the needs of our community, the constraints of operating under CDC guidelines, and all the change that is coming each day.

Just when it feels heaviest, something always happens to lighten the load. It might be a kind note, a generous donation, or an offer of help from someone who has little themselves. This double rainbow appeared in the sky last night. We know the storm is far from over, but we are grateful to have been offered a little light in the middle of it.

Stay safe and well. And stay at home unless you need to get food or medicine.

It’s a lot….

In the last two weeks, nearly 1000 donors have provided money, food, or other material assistance to us as we geared up our operations for the need we know is to come. It’s a lot.

Today, our phones were ringing way more than usual for a Thursday morning, as many people in our area are facing their first week with no paycheck. People are worried about how they will take care of their families. It’s a lot to think and worry about.

We are humbled by the outpouring of support. We are equally humbled by the grace of those we serve. It’s a lot to take in.

The pace of change, the underlying anxiety, the generosity, the strength of spirit; it’s all a lot. We are grateful to live in such an amazing community, and grateful for the support we’re receiving. And it’s a lot!

The Six-Foot Shuffle…

We have had to make changes to our operations to comply with all CDC guidelines. We’re calling it the six-foot shuffle. We will probably have to make further adjustment as the CDC comes out with new information in the days to come, so please bear with us as we pivot. There’s plenty that has changed inside the pantry, but here’s what the public needs to know:

  1. We have changed our food donation procedures. Donors are asked to drop their donations off in a marked bin in the parking lot, or for fragile items, on a table next to the donation bin. For everyone’s safety we are maintaining six feet of distance between people. For this reason, we are currently unable to offer receipts for food donation. Staff cannot assist in unloading donor vehicles. We aren’t being rude, we’re just following the guidelines for public safety and social distancing. We’re asking donors who are unable to unload their own vehicles to please hold their donations for a happier day to come. Continue reading “The Six-Foot Shuffle…”

Today’s Normal

It’s Tuesday at LHR and we’re living “today’s normal” every day. We are profoundly grateful to so many people who are helping us with food or financial donations. One donor let us know he is contributing $50 a day to LHR for every day he is forced to work from home. Many have phoned us to see what we need, and many others have sent generously from our Amazon wish list.

A typical Tuesday has appointment based service hours in the morning and again in the evening. On a typical Tuesday, we serve about 50 families total. Today, we served 75. This was not a typical Tuesday.<–!more–>

We are proud that our staff of eight people, along with help from the Loudoun County Department of Parks and Recreation personnel, has managed to keep up with the demand for emergency food. We are adhering to CDC guidelines to have no more than 10 people in any one place, and to have them at least three feet apart. This slows down our operations, but the safety of everyone is the first concern.

There is much to do to keep up with demand, and we are doing it while adding all the extra steps it takes to sanitize, keep the shelves stocked, and pack emergency orders.

We have shifted our service completely to the outdoors, and we give thanks daily for the good weather we’ve had. We have also shifted completely to pre-packed bags. This speeds service, and provides very a very similar selection of groceries to every family. Traditionally, we have packed groceries to order, honoring special requests where possible. In today’s normal, we don’t have the variety of food we normally would, and we’re doing our best to help everyone get through this crisis.

We adjust things every day to be faster, better, more efficient and more caring. When we make mistakes, and we do, we apologize, fix them and move onward.

We feel ready for tomorrow, in “today’s normal”.

Getting through today, preparing for tomorrow

It’s been a busy Monday at Loudoun Hunger Relief. We spent Sunday reviewing CDC social distancing guidelines, and we knew that the pantry is just too small to provide enough space for everyone to be inside safely. We made the hard choice to suspend our volunteer program, and we began to bring groceries to our families in need outside. We are doing our best to provide what people need while minimizing risk to everyone.

We had help from so many today! Continue reading “Getting through today, preparing for tomorrow”

COVID-19 Preparedness at Loudoun Hunger Relief

Thank you for your support of the work we do at Loudoun Hunger Relief, helping the most vulnerable among us to have sufficient, nutritious food.
We’d like to take a few minutes of your time to update you on what we’ve done to be prepared as an organization and to prepare the people we serve for impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As a leader in Loudoun’s emergency food system, we have already begun providing Continue reading “COVID-19 Preparedness at Loudoun Hunger Relief”