In 2014, Our Daily Bread celebrated 30 years of providing help and hope to struggling residents of the Fairfax County area.
Since our inception, ODB has been dedicated to tailoring our services to meet the ever-changing needs of the working poor or those in crisis. As we begin our next 30 years of service to the Fairfax Community, we are working to empower our neighbors to cross the bridge from need to true financial 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 501(c)(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 has continued to respond to this urgent need by providing emergency food, financial assistance and seasonal assistance, while also offering financial mentoring and instruction services so that our clients can develop a plan to move forward. Our Project BRIDGE Program brings together all of these services plus additional supports to help select clients as they do the hard work to truly move themselves to true financial self-sufficiency. In 2014, we welcomed the Naomi Project of Northern Virginia as our newest Program. Naomi Project mentors work with new and expecting moms across Northern Virginia to help them have healthy pregnancies and raise healthy babies.
Today, the families we help are likely to be members of the working poor – often juggling multiple jobs, the elderly and disabled, or those who were financially secure but have found themselves in crisis due to job loss, debt or health issues. More than half of those we serve are children.
We are able to provide these services because of donations and volunteer support of thousands of caring community members each year. We welcome everyone to get involved: