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! 7×24 Exchange, an association of data center service providing companies, arrived in the chill of the morning and packed 400 bags of emergency groceries in 2 hours. County employees from the Department of Parks and Recreation as well as from the Department of Family Services and the Voter Registration Office came to help pack another 600+ bags. It was an amazing, open air, socially distant, community supporting operation!  JK Moving came to the rescue, loaning us a truck and driver for a food pick up we didn’t have the staffing to make. Wegmans helped with heavily discounted cereal for our bag packs.

Today we provided food services to families in need at both our Leesburg pantry and our Sterling Mobile Market service location.

We provided bags of shelf-stable groceries for emergency preparedness to local first responders. We had bags ready early in the day for the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide to the seniors usually served in their centers. Bags got delivered to William Watters House in Sterling and arrived at Madison House in Leesburg (senior low-income housing). Tomorrow morning, Loudoun County Public Schools will pick up emergency family grocery bags to travel with them on the buses delivering breakfast and lunch to children and families throughout the LCPS system.

All in all today, our teams packed over 1000 bags and delivered or shared with other agencies nearly 700 bags. We’ll be at it again tomorrow morning, when we open for service at 8:30.

This is a challenging time for everyone. We are blessed to have the resources of our community and local government partners backing us as we strive to help low-income families and older adults get through today and prepare for tomorrow.

LHR’s Virus Season Precautions

As always, LHR wants to provide a safe, clean, healthy environment for those who work, volunteer and receive services. We have been following CDC and local health department guidelines.

Dr. Goodfriend, our Loudoun Health Department Director has advised the following: hand sanitizer access and use, frequent handwashing, staying home when sick and frequent cleaning of high touch areas. Please know that we have hand sanitizer available around the building, soap at each sink and are installing a hand sanitizer wall unit in the lobby on Monday. Our staff has been cleaning the high touch areas (handles/chairs/shelves/doors/counters/bathrooms/etc) daily with antibacterial cleanser.

We are in contact with the County of Loudoun regarding any other updates or plans that need to be put in place should there be a need. We will keep you posted as information becomes necessary and available.

Loudoun Hunger Relief Executive Director Honored with Nonprofit Executive Leader of the Year Award

We are beyond proud of our Executive Director, Jennifer Montgomery, who took home the 2020 Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Executive Leadership Award.

Jennifer, a Loudoun County native, leads every day from the head and the heart, with the best interest of our community at the center of all she does. Her career and life journey illustrate her core beliefs in the dignity of all human beings, and the power of community. Continue reading “Loudoun Hunger Relief Executive Director Honored with Nonprofit Executive Leader of the Year Award”

We’re Rolling! Ribbon Cutting for Mobile Market Tomorrow, 10/30/19 at 4pm

Major Funders:
The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation
Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity
Funded in part by Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds administered by the Loudoun County Department of Family Services.
100WomenStrong
Sterling Women Giving Circle
Individual, Family and Corporate Donors from our generous community–Donors like you!

The Big Green Produce Machine

Last summer, Loudoun Hunger had a dream. We had expanded our produce program to accept more and more from our grocery store partners, our farmer’s markets, and our farm partners. We had such healthy abundance! We were able to supply fresh produce directly to the families we serve in the pantry, PLUS we were networking with partners in the Loudoun Food Providers Network and other partner direct service agencies to get produce in the hands of families in Loudoun who don’t or can’t come to the pantry.The program was great, but needed to be better. We had a dream of an expanded partner distribution program that could reach even more people in need. We needed WAY more temperature controlled produce storage space, and we needed bins and containers specifically designed to transport various types of produce, particularly delicate tomatoes. Continue reading “The Big Green Produce Machine”

September is Hunger Action Month–What will you do to end hunger in our community?

The month of September is Hunger Action Month each year. Hunger Action Month was created to involve and motivate the community to join forces to have a greater impact in the fight against hunger.

Hunger Action Month is a Feeding America initiative. Nationwide, food banks and food pantries use awareness campaigns during the month of September to better help the people we serve. Everyone in the community is urged to join the team to fight hunger.

Here are a few concrete ways you can help.

  1. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram or Twitter. We’re @LoudounHunger.
  2. Use social media to share hunger facts with your social following and tag us in the post. Watch our social media for posts you can share! #LoudounHunger or #NeighborsatLHR
  3. Bring in a food donation. We post our most needed items each Wednesday on Facebook and on this blog.
  4. Donate money: We can buy food at wholesale prices, and we can target purchases to exactly what is needed each week.
  5. Contact your local officials to advocate for hunger relief in our community.
  6. Wear orange on Hunger Action Day, September 12, 2019.

We invite you to be one of the #NeighborsatLHR–neighbors helping neighbors.