It’ll soon be time for the holidays, and many local residents will receive a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal courtesy of Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM). But this nonprofit organization can’t do it alone; with so many people to feed, it’s counting on help from the community to complete this huge undertaking.
WFCM serves those in need in Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fair Oaks and Fairfax Station. And with so many people struggling financially in these tough, economic times, more and more families are coming to WFCM for help.
“Thanks to support from the community, we were able to provide food for over 1,236 families in 2011,” said Jennie Bush, WFCM’s community outreach manager. “But we expect the need to be far greater this year and really need some help in meeting it.”
If someone can sponsor a family with a food basket, she’ll match them up with a recipient. If donors want to shop for the items for a holiday meal and put together the basket(s) or food boxes themselves, she’ll give them a list of suggested items to include.
Even those unable to provide a whole basket full of food – or who just don’t have the time to go shopping – can still help out by contributing supermarket gift cards in $25 or $50 amounts so families who aren’t sponsored may purchase their own holiday meals.
“All families who’ll be receiving baskets or gift cards have been pre-screened for eligibility,” said Bush. “If there are children in the family, all of them already qualify to receive free or reduced-cost lunches at school. If a family doesn’t have children, they’ve had to provide sufficient proof of income to document that their need is real.”
To sponsor a family or families for holiday food, contact Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. See WFCM’S Web site, www.wfcmva.org, to obtain a list of suggested food to include in the basket – which may also be bags or boxes.
Gift cards may be dropped off at the WFCM food pantry at 13981 Metrotech Drive in Chantilly (near Backyard Grill and Bar), Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (No cash donations). Mail supermarket gift cards with a note saying “food basket program” to: WFCM, P.O. Box 220802, Chantilly, VA 20153.
“We'd like to receive grocery store gift cards by Saturday, Nov. 17,” said Bush. “We'll be distributing cards and food to clients on Monday, Nov 19.”