More than 240 families registered for Saturday’s Holiday Food Basket drive at Christ the Redeemer and Trinity Presbyterian churches. Volunteers from LINK — organization comprised of churches from the Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn areas — also conducted a toy drive at Herndon United Methodist Church, handing out 2,600 toys to area children.
"About 2,500 people will receive food from this event," said Mark Gunderman, a LINK volunteer. "Scripture compels us to do this work. It’s empowering to do this work," said Gunderman, a Sterling resident.
An all-volunteer organization, LINK distributes food five days per week, making about 700 deliveries each year. On Saturday, Dec. 15, families in need and other guests had an opportunity to collect about five days worth of food. The food donation may help some fight hunger, while others might use the donation to steer whatever funds they have towards other obligations, such as mortgage or utilities. Gunderman said he expected people who were not registered for the event to turn up and collect some food on Saturday. There were unregistered families who were served during a similar Thanksgiving drive last month. "Fifty-two families came off the street for Thanksgiving, that we believe were in desperate need," said Gunderman.
"This kind of work in the community fosters good will," said Gunderman. He said it took 400 volunteers to set up and run the event, which lasted from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the three churches. He said that the toy drive was in danger of not having enough toys only a few days before the event, but that the community pulled through and donated enough toys so that each of the 1,300 children registered for the drive at Herndon United Methodist Church could receive two toys.