Community Members Needed to Sponsor Struggling Fairfax Families for the Holidays

Charity Expects 3,000+ Fairfax Residents to Seek Assistance for Holidays

Contact: Lisa Whetzel; exdir@ODBFairfax.org; 703-273-8829

FAIRFAX, VA (October 30, 2013) – Fairfax-based non-profit Our Daily Bread, Inc. (ODB) has a great need for individuals, families, companies and community groups to “sponsor” needy individuals and families who reside in the Fairfax County area for Thanksgiving and the December holidays. Community members are urged to help by registering on Our Daily Bread’s web site to provide a Thanksgiving meal and/or December Holiday meal and gifts for children under 18.

ODB operates its Holiday Program through a grant from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. Coordinating closely with social workers and community-based organizations who serve families throughout the County, ODB works to ensure that as many eligible families as possible who have been identified as having a great need are able to receive holiday assistance. The organization matches sponsors with individuals and families who reside in all areas of the County, but the areas where the need for assistance is greatest are Falls Church and the Alexandria area. There are many flexible options for sponsorship. Sponsors choose the size of the family they can assist, the area of the County they would like to serve, and whether they are able to assist for Thanksgiving, December meal, gifts for children, or all three options. Registered sponsors are provided information on the individual/family they will serve and arrange to deliver the meals and/or gifts. Additionally, there is a "virtual sponsor" option that allows sponsors to provide a financial donation that ODB will use to purchase a gift card to help a specific family.

In 2012, ODB’s Holiday Program served more than 3,000 families. The organization is expecting to see increased demand for assistance this holiday season due to lingering effects from the government shutdown and sequestration, as well as the federal government’s plan to decrease Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits to individuals and families beginning November 1.

According to recent statistics from the national hunger awareness organization Feeding America, more than 76,000 residents in the Fairfax County area are “food insecure,” meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from. Fairfax County Public Schools estimates that approximately 46,000, or 24 percent, of its student population is qualified to receive free or reduced-price meals.

ODB Executive Director Lisa Whetzel said, “Our Daily Bread’s Holiday Sponsor-a-Family Program presents a wonderful opportunity for families, businesses and community groups to give in a very special way this holiday season. We hope the community will come together to make the season brighter for hard-working families who may otherwise go without holiday meals and presents for their children.”

Those interested in sponsoring a family or families for the holidays may register at www.ODBFairfax.org, using ODB’s easy and secure on-line registration form.  ODB also greatly welcomes cash donations to help provide gift cards to families who are not sponsored. Donations may be made on ODB’s web site or by mail. For more information about the Holiday Program, contact Our Daily Bread at 703-273-8829 or hpassist@ODBFairfax.org.

Our Daily Bread is a volunteer-based organization focused on easing the plight of low-income residents in the Fairfax County area of Virginia. In addition to Holiday assistance, ODB provides qualified clients temporary food assistance, emergency financial assistance, financial education and mentoring services, the Project BRIDGE program that works with select clients in an intensive manner to help them achieve self-sufficiency, and Back to School assistance. For information, visit www.ODBFairfax.org.

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