Food for Others is turning 25

Do you remember where you were in 1995? (Perhaps you didn’t exist yet?) A quick Google search turns up a lot of facts about that year, both fun and tragic. The internet was pretty new (check out this Newsweek opinion about how the internet wouldn’t change our reading or shopping habits) and Starbucks released the Frappucino. 1995 was also the year of blue M&Ms, the Macarena, and Toy Story. The Dow closed above 5,000 for the first time.

In the midst of all of that, Food for Others was founded. We began as a continuation of Lazarus at the Gate, an earlier emergency food services program founded by a local doctor to combat hunger.

When Lazarus at the Gate ceased operations in June of 1995, the Department of Community Action, Fairfax County, and previous Lazarus volunteers worked together to establish Food for Others, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that would provide food to local families in need. Food for Others was incorporated on October 20, 1995 and operations officially commenced six weeks later.

At our start in 1995, we had a small paid staff of four and were operated almost entirely by volunteers and our Board of Directors. Food for Others began feeding local families in need through three major programs:

(1) Distributing emergency food directly from our Merrifield warehouse,

(2) Serving as a food bank for our community partners, and

(3) Providing supplemental food at our neighborhood sites throughout Fairfax County.

2011–  Started the Power Pack Program (P3), which provides weekend backpack food to students

2016 –  Added the “choice” section to our warehouse which allows our clients choose their own food instead of receiving a box of pre-selected food

2017– Started the Rx for Food program and began working with local farms, farmers markets, and community gardens to increase the amount of locally grown fresh produce provided to families in need- the Farm to Family program

2019 – Partnered with Virginia Cooperative Extension to offer weekly boxes of produce from Waterpenny Farm CSA paired with cooking and nutrition classes at a low income housing development

2020-We have big plans for our 25th year:

  • Opening the new My Market @ Food for Others, an upgraded space where families can choose their food in a safe, private, & climate controlled environment
  • Launching My Market @ Annandale, our first pop-up pantry and precursor to the mobile pantry we hope to launch later this year
  • Expanding P3 to serve 33 schools including our first middle schools
  • Investing in new Customer Relationship Management and Volunteer Management technology

None of this would be possible without all of you. Thank you for your unwavering support over the past 25 years. With your help, we will work harder than ever this year and bring hope to more people in need.