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Christmas-Basket Food is Sought for Needy

Each year, Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) fills big baskets of food for local needy families at Christmastime. But this holiday, due to vastly increased demand, the WFCM needs help.

"We have 111 families outstanding that it looks like aren't going to get their Christmas food baskets this year," said WFCM Executive Director Dorothy Fonow on Tuesday. "Our holiday food-basket coordinator, Cindy Roberts, says they are running at roughly double the amount of requests from last year."

Fonow said the downturned economy and many job losses have definitely had an impact, but even she is surprised by the magnitude of the need. "To double like this is incredible," she said. "There are a lot of people out there who are hurting. Last year, we gave out 208 baskets total at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, we're giving out over 200 for each of those holidays."

Any groups or families wishing to contribute toward any of the needed items is urged to call the WFCM main office in Centreville at 703-988-9656. Especially needed are the major meat items. To insure that the families receive their baskets in time for Christmas, all food donations are needed by next Friday, Dec. 20.

Suggested food-basket items include the following: Turkey, ham, chicken or gift certificate, lettuce, celery, onions, potatoes, apples, oranges, rolls or bread, margarine, boxed or bagged stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, gravy, canned fruit and vegetables, pies, nut breads, crackers or cookies, baby food, apple or other fruit juices, and any other goodies children would enjoy — such as boxes of macaroni and cheese and individually wrapped cheese slices.

Also needed are the baskets, themselves — sturdy plastic crates, laundry baskets, storage containers or heavy-duty boxes.

Hopeful that residents of the local community will rise to the occasion and help out with this worthy cause, Fonow thanks everyone in advance for "responding to the needs of your neighbors in western Fairfax County. WFCM would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas season and to extend its appreciation to the Centreville/Chantilly/Clifton community."