Every day up to 90,000 people go hungry across Northern Virginia, Food for Others helps by providing food to those in need.
Food for Others, Inc.
Food for Others operates four core services. First, emergency food is provided to individuals and families referred by social services organizations to the Food for Others' warehouse in Merrifield, Virginia. These clients are provided with several days' worth of food thus buying time for other sources of assistance to be arranged or for the crisis to pass. New in July of 2016, the emergency clients are able to “shop” in our choice area of the warehouse accompanied by a volunteer. This client choice option gives clients more dignity in choosing their own food and cuts down on food waste. Additionally, clients meeting the income eligibility guidelines may return monthly for U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) at the warehouse. The warehouse is open for these programs Monday through Friday, 9:30am until 5:00pm.
The second service is Neighborhood Site distributions that occur weeknights at 15 sites in low-income neighborhoods across Fairfax County (10 sites), Falls Church (2 sites), and Arlington County (3 sites). Volunteers pick up food at the warehouse and then distribute it at these designated locations. Northern Virginians in need of free food line up and are served after answering the only question asked: "How many people are in your family?" These various sites are currently serviced a total of 25 times each week at 6pm or 6:30pm. Food for Others also serves 1 Neighborhood Site one time per month during the day in Annandale.
The third service is our distribution to Community Partners. These are approximately 18 local Northern Virginia community-based organizations that come to Food for Others to receive food on a weekly or monthly basis. In providing this service, Food for Others functions as a food bank. These groups pick up food at the warehouse, and in turn, offer it to the elderly, home-bound, homeless, school children, and other client populations at risk of hunger.
Lastly, Food for Others provides weekend food to children through our Power Pack Program (P3). Many children in our area have little or close to nothing to eat between their lunch at school on Friday and the breakfast that is served Monday morning. Distributed on Friday afternoons, P3 provides elementary school-aged children with a pack of food to alleviate the child’s hunger over the weekend and allow them to focus more on their school work. For the 2020-2021 school year, we served 2,478 children each week at 30 schools in Fairfax County.
These four food distributions would not be possible without a variety of food sources. Volunteers and staff pick up most of the Food for Others stock from donor organizations. Contributed food is then augmented as needed through acquisitions from food banks, food wholesalers, food drives, and produce gleaning activities. Ten full-time employees and one part-time employee handle these operations with the help of over 1,000 volunteers.
During the 2021 fiscal year, Food for Others distributed 3,471,148 pounds of food (2,892,623 meals); counted 2,902 average individuals served at each neighborhood site; distributed food to an average of 28,901 per Community Partner at each distribution; and served 2,478 kids through the Power Packs Program.
Our clients are families, single people, the elderly, the young, the sick, the homeless, the employed, and unemployed; they are Caucasian, Asian, African American and Hispanic. The one thing they have in common is their need for help and we provide that in the form of free food that enables them to utilize their resources for the other great needs in their lives.