Food drives are popular during the holiday season, but the demand for food, and the need to keep non-profit food pantries stocked never ends. In Fairfax County, more than 64,000 individuals live below federally defined poverty lines, and more than 44,000 residents receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits (formerly the food stamp program). According to the county’s Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB), students who eat free and reduced price meals at school during the school year rely on food banks during the summer to fill the gap. Sadly, food bank shelves run low during the summer months, which is why the CAAB is sponsoring a food drive this month to collect non-perishable food for neighbors in need.
Most needed items include canned meats (ham, turkey, chicken, tuna and beef); peanut butter; cereal, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, dried or canned beans, pasta, rice, and bottled fruit juices. You can drop off non-perishable food items in the collection box outside my office at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale at any time. CAAB volunteers will pick up the donations and deliver them to Food for Others, a local non-profit in Merrifield. Monetary donations also are welcome, to purchase dairy, fresh meats, fruits and vegetables to augment the canned goods. Log on to www.foodforothers.org to find out more about how you can help.
A new Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays at the Bailey’s Community Center, 5920 Summers Lane, in Bailey’s Crossroads. The market is designed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in communities that are identified as “food deserts,” areas where impoverished residents may lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables from a grocery store within walking distance to their homes. Arcadia’s Mobile Market will be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The market accepts SNAP, cash, debit, and credit cards. SNAP customers will receive a 50 percent discount when they use their SNAP benefits.
If you’ve been inspired by Olympic athletes to participate in a race closer to home, you may be interested in the Super Sprint Triathlon to be held on Saturday, August 27, sponsored by the Lincolnia Park Recreation Club, 6501 Montrose Street in Alexandria (next to Holmes Middle School). Proceeds from the triathlon support disadvantaged youth locally and globally, including ACCA Child Development Center in Annandale, and Kisima Academy and Orphanage in Naitiri, Kenya. There are race opportunities for youth and adults of all ages, starting at 7 a.m. For more information, contact Bonnie at [email protected], or register at www.imathlete.com/events/LincolniaParkSprintTri. Finish your summer with some family fun, and support a worthy cause at the same time. You can make a donation without competing, too. For the Kids International is a certified 501(c)(3) charity.
The Mason District Police Station mourns the passing of 2nd Lt. Kim Doran, who fought valiantly against cancer, inspiring her fellow officers and all who knew her. Prior to her funeral on Monday, Mason Station officers lined Columbia Pike as her funeral cortege, including dozens of police motorcycles, passed by the station. Lt. Doran served Mason District for many years, and will be sorely missed.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]