On November 19, 2009, Our Daily Bread celebrated 25 years of serving the Fairfax County area.
The history of Our Daily Bread is characterized by a commitment to serving disadvantaged families in Fairfax County, coupled with the flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of the community. Our outreach is driven by our mission: “guiding our neighbors toward self-sufficiency.”
The organization now known as Our Daily Bread began in 1984 as a temporary homeless shelter that rotated among several churches in the area. When Fairfax County opened a shelter in Reston, the interfaith effort shifted its focus to feeding the homeless, opening a soup kitchen staffed by volunteers from the various participating organizations. In 1986, the name “Our Daily Bread” was chosen, and three years later the organization was incorporated and qualified as a 501C(3) non-profit organization.
As circumstances in Fairfax County changed, the soup kitchen closed and gave way to volunteers making and delivering sandwiches to homeless families living in motels along Route 50 in Fairfax. Then, because delivered groceries offered more variety and independence, Our Daily Bread began delivering supplemental groceries each week.
While many organizations and programs developed to assist the homeless, Our Daily Bread recognized a need that was going unmet—serving those families who, while not homeless, were in financial crisis and in danger of “falling through the cracks.” These families and individuals live from paycheck to paycheck, and unexpected expenses can send them spiraling from self-sufficiency to the brink of homelessness. As the cost of housing in Fairfax County rose sharply through the 1990s and 2000s, rent claimed a greater and greater share of these families’ resources, leaving little left over to meet other needs or provide a financial cushion for emergencies.
Our Daily Bread responded to this urgent need. Today, the families we help are likely to be members of the working poor often juggling multiple jobs, as well as the elderly and disabled. More than half of those we serve are children.