(From left) Picking up from Anita's in Herndon for Herndon Cares are volunteers Madison Austell, Josh Killian, Christine Mayuga, and Renee Austell.
Photo by K Scarry
Two thousand three hundred and counting. That is the number of takeout meals purchased from local restaurants through donations that Herndon Cares provided to individuals in need during a recent four-week period. Increased food insecurity, employee layoffs and small business instability continued to spike as COVID-19 gained a foothold locally and elsewhere, and the need had never been greater.
Pastor Sean Roberds of the First Baptist Church of Herndon found himself struggling with how to support those in need while adhering to social distancing. He shared his concerns with his Deacons and suggested raising funds to purchase and order takeout meals for neighbors with food insecurity. With those words and volunteer support, the new program, Herndon Cares.org, was born. "The Deacons and the rest of the congregation loved the idea, as this meant the church could help those needing food, as well as local restaurants needing business," according to herndoncares.org.
VOLUNTEER Renee Maxwell, said, "[Herndon Cares] currently involves 10 Herndon and Reston faith communities, 17 local restaurants, more than 1,000 people in need, and lots of volunteers." It seeks donations in any amount to First Baptist Church of Herndon through its herndoncares.org website. Herndon Cares is the epitome of what Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said she loved about the Town – congregations and neighbors coming together to contribute to a fund, not only to bring meals to families in need, but also to do so by supporting local restaurants in the process. "It is exactly what Herndon is all about," she said.
According to K Scarry of the First Baptist Church of Herndon, in Reston and Herndon, there are hungry neighbors, excited restaurateurs and engaged community members set to deliver with Herndon Cares. "Now we need financial support," she said. Linc Kruger is the owner of The Virginia Kitchen, one of the many participating Herndon Cares restaurants in Reston and Herndon. "Our staff felt so fortunate to be able to work for such a wonderful cause. When a community comes together to serve those most in need, it becomes stronger," she said.
Participating faith-based organizations in Herndon are Trinity Presbyterian Church, Christ Fellowship Church, First Baptist Church of Herndon, Floris United Methodist, Herndon United Methodist Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. In Reston, the participating faith-based organizations are Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, John Neumann Catholic Community and Washington Plaza Baptist Church.
HERNDON CARES invites all residing in zip code areas 20170, 20171, 20190 and 20194 to be a part of this grassroots campaign to help keep the community viable. To request a meal, become a partner or participating business, or donate, visit www.HerndonCares.org.