We live in a community comprised of people from many diverse backgrounds. What a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. We are able to live in culturally vibrant communities, teach our children how to live in a multicultural world and we are able to learn tolerance and respect for others. God wants every individual to know that he is loved and valued. Jesus said in Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your entire mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
You may wonder how LINK is able to receive so many goods in a short period of time. We are only able to share God’s abundance through the donations we receive from our community. The majority of the groceries for the Holiday Programs usually arrive in the latter part of the week leading up to the event. We put out the word through the electronic media, church bulletins, elected officials, Facebook, neighborhood emails and our community volunteers. Emails arrived every hour with volunteers offering to conduct last minute drives to gather the items we need. Neighbors went door-to-door, businesses volunteered to do in-office drives and local residents answered the plea for more donations. Like a small wave in the ocean growing as it approaches the shoreline, the groceries, coats and toys gradually begin to arrive.
LINK is in the business of loving people, regardless of their circumstances. During the 2013 Holiday Programs, we provided food for over 1,600 families. About 1,000 volunteers came together to sort food, clothing and toys; escort clients; load up vehicles and pickup donated non-perishable items from schools, businesses, houses of worship and individual residences. LINK was able to provide groceries for 3 – 5 days to more than 7,400 individuals and distribute $44,105 of grocery gift cards, 2,500 gently used winter coats and other clothing items, more than 4,500 new toys and approximately 100,000 pounds of canned, boxed and frozen food.
LINK received 54 walk-ins (families who did not previously register) who came in desperate need of food. LINK provided these families with non-perishables at the end of the day after registered families receive their allotted quantities. Twenty-eight direct to home food deliveries were made to those who were sick, handicapped or could not pick-up their food. We were so blessed with toy collections that we were able to donate excess toys to the Salvation Army of Loudoun County, Reston-Herndon F.I.S.H., Embry Rucker Homeless Shelter, and Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship and other organizations that needed them.
LINK sincerely appreciates the many businesses, civic groups and churches that hosted food, clothing and toy drives for our Holiday Programs. While the list below is long, it is possible that within all the chaos that surrounded these events someone was overlooked and we sincerely apologize. LINK is fortunate to have received the support of the following organizations for our 2013 Holiday Programs: Airbus, Allegra Printing, American Heritage Girls, Balmar Printers, Capital Area Food Bank, Carrier Corporation, Carpathia, Church of the Epiphany Anglican, Classical Ballet Theatre, Community Lutheran, COSTCO, Del. Tom Rust, Deltek, Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County Motorcycle Police Unit, Federal Children’s Center, First Baptist Church-Herndon, GAM Printers, Griffin Owens Insurance, Harris Teeter, Herndon United Methodist Preschool, Digital Globe-Herndon, Herndon High Leadership Class, Herndon High NJROTC, Herndon High Spanish Honor Society, Infinity Conference Group, Kathy Morgan Singing Studio, Loudoun County Government, Lowe’s Island Elementary School, LSI-Spatial Data Solutions, Matt Harmon Photography, Monkey Joe’s, Dulles, Monroe Place Apartments, Palmercare Chiropractic, PMMI, PolyCom, Pure Integration, REHAU, Reston Hospital Employees, Reston-Sterling Lions Clubs, SilTek, Southland Industries, Worldgate Sport & Health, St. Joseph’s CCD classes, St. Joseph’s Men’s Society, Sterling United Methodist Preschool, STG, Inc., Technica Corporation, Town of Herndon Employees & Turkey Trot, Toys for Tots and W.I.N.N.
In addition, we would like to thank the 30 plus private and public schools in Fairfax and Loudoun County who generously conducted food, toy and coat drives for LINK. The students, staff and teachers worked endlessly to ensure that donations flourished and for that we are very grateful!
See Matt Harmon website (http://photos.mtharmon.com/StMatts/LINK-2013). Click on a photo and then click on the download button in the bottom-right corner.
We appreciate our member churches and friends of LINK who volunteered thousands of hours of their time to put together a successful Holiday Program. Thank you to our LINK Board Members, Boy Scout Troops, Girl Scout Troops, church youth groups and so many others who helped in big and small ways.
Want to help LINK out in 2014? LINK has several ways you can help:
Food Deliveries in February – LINK needs help delivering food to families Tuesday – Saturday of each week. To sign up, go to: www.linkagainsthunger.org/
Mobile Food Pantry – in 2013, LINK distributed more than 78,000 pounds of food to more than 10,000 individuals through the Mobile Food Pantry. The food is provided by the Capital Area Food Bank. Sixty-two percent of the food went to Loudoun County residents and 38 percent was distributed to Fairfax County residents. To sign up to help with the February Mobile Food Pantry, go to: http://www.linkagainsthunger.org/
Top Food Needs – Yes, we have holes (large ones in some cases) on our pantry shelves. Here is a list of our top food needs: Soups (especially chicken noodle), boxed rice products, boxed meal helpers (like Hamburger Helper), canned fruit, tomato sauce, chili, canned baked beans, boxes of macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, cake mixes, toilet paper and paper towels.