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Halloween Fun Helps Those in Need

Tysons restaurant to host pumpkin carving event to raise money for local food bank.

Local children show off their masterpieces after a pumpkin carving class at Wildfire Tysons Galleria. Proceeds from the class go to Food for Others, a Northern Virginia food bank.

Local children show off their masterpieces after a pumpkin carving class at Wildfire Tysons Galleria. Proceeds from the class go to Food for Others, a Northern Virginia food bank. Photo courtesy of Wildfire Tysons Galleria

— “By hosting a fun event that kids and families can enjoy, Wildfire helps Food for Others by raising awareness about the need to fight hunger right here in Northern Virginia because as we approach Halloween, our shelves are frighteningly bare.”

—Jessica Cogen, Food for Others, director for development and outreach

Few things say Halloween like a carved pumpkin. Whether they’re smiling orbs on a front porch or eerie candlelit gourds in windowsills, jack-o-lanterns are an iconic symbol of Halloween. This weekend, however, the rib-skinned fall squash will also symbolize charity. A group of children get a lesson in pumpkin carving from local Executive Chef Eddie Ishaq of Wildfire, at Tysons Galleria, with all of the proceeds going to a local food bank.

Donate

Food for Others has a critical need for food donations:

Canned meats (chicken, turkey, ham, beef)

Canned Chili

Dry or canned beans

Canned Soups and Vegetables

Boxed Pasta

Juice, family-sized, 100% juice

For those interested in organizing a food drive, a planning kit can be found at.www.foodforothers...> www.foodforothers...

“I enjoy seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces as they carve their pumpkins, and [I like] the fact all the money goes to a great cause,” said Ishaq. “I [also enjoy] passing along all of my carving skills.”

Proceeds from the event will help support Food for Others, a Northern Virginia food bank. During the class, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 3-4 p.m. at Wildfire at Tysons Galleria, parents and children will get a hands-on pumpkin carving lesson led by Ishaq. At the end of the class, the children will take home their creations.

“By hosting a fun event that kids and families can enjoy, Wildfire helps Food for Others raise awareness about the need to fight hunger right here in Northern Virginia because as we approach Halloween, our shelves are frighteningly bare,” said Jessica Cogen, director of development and outreach at Food for Others. “With missed paychecks due to the government closure, demand for our help continues to run high.”

Food for Others officials report that since July, the number of families coming for emergency food has been more than 20 percent higher than last year. For September alone, the number of people relying on Food for Others for groceries was 24 percent higher than last year.

Cogen says that almost 90 percent of the food her organization distributes is collected through donations.

Kid’s Pumpkin Carving Class at Wildfire

Saturday, Oct. 26, 3-4 p.m.

Wildfire Tysons Galleria, 3rd Floor

Call 703-442-9110 or visit wildfirerestaurant.com

Cost is $15/child plus tax and gratuity. Proceeds benefit Food for Others.

Contributions don’t have to be as elaborate as Ishaq’s pumpkin carving class, however. “We accept donations as small as individuals bringing in cans or as large as someone wanting to run a food drive in their workplace,” said Cogen. “We have easy-to-follow tips on our website for those who want to put together for a food drive.”

For Food for Others, Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, a time when the need increases, says Cogen. “Our food shelves are nearly empty and our lobby is of full of people coming to us in need of help with food,” said Cogen. “We are optimistic that the community will rally together for food drives and donations. We’re counting on people bringing in food for the holidays and into the New Year.”