Article by Aishani Satia
In 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that between 691 million and 783 million people were going to bed hungry, with 11.3% food insecure. These numbers are present right in front of us. Though Loudoun County is fortunately one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, about 14,000 people still struggle to bring food to their table. Only about 44% of these people qualify for food stamp benefits. The rest have too high of an income to qualify, however, more is needed to live securely in Loudoun County. The remaining need more support to make ends meet. This paints a vivid picture of food insecurity as a prevalent issue in the community.
That is why, on September 28th, the community took a significant step forward as Loudoun Hunger Relief proudly announced the opening of its new Community Services Center. With the help of a 3 million dollar campaign funded by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, it offers a holistic approach to Loudoun’s residents.
Deputy Director of Loudoun Hunger relief, Trish McNeal comments, “We were calling this campaign beyond food. We knew that they needed literacy services, we knew that they needed jobs services, and we knew that some of them needed Aging in Place services. And this is going to offer all of that under one roof.” This comprehensive facility offers everything from fresh produce, pet supplies, packaged foods, diapers, and soaps.
Jennifer Montgomery, CEO and president of Loudoun Hunger Relief, thanked all of the people that made this possible. “Today is a celebration of what is really great in our community”
Carol Barbe, past chair of Loudoun Hunger Relief, also spoke, “Today, we start a new chapter, we have gone from 4300 square feet to 13,500 square feet…We have gone beyond food to a client choice free food market to a Community Services Center, and most importantly, a bright, beautiful, welcoming, and dignified place for all our neighbors to come to.”
This center will help thousands across the county access the most basic of needs, serving as a beacon of hope for any neighbor in need.
Loudoun Hunger Relief’s volunteer of 5 years, Cynthia Coburn, shares her heartfelt perspective: “I’ve always had a passion for those who are food insecure. And I’ve never been food insecure. But I just feel like that was something that tugged at my heart.”
She further emphasizes, “ I just always want people to know about the surplus and not feel ashamed to come in because we’re here; the county is here to serve them. I always feel that that’s what my taxes go to, to help people in it. If you need help, we’re here to help you.”
More than 14,000 of Loudoun’s residents need food assistance each year.
About Loudoun Hunger Relief
Loudoun Hunger Relief, Loudoun’s leader in emergency food assistance, has been serving the Loudoun community since 1991. Last year, LHR distributed 2.4 million pounds of food to about 14,000 Loudoun residents. Nearly 40% of those served are children, and another 10% are senior citizens. LHR helps families in Loudoun meet their food needs, serving about 650 to 700 families each week. For more information, please visit www.loudounhunger.org.