Many of us can go to the refrigerator for a snack whenever we are hungry. However, one in thirteen children in Northern Virginia lives in poverty. The main meals for 28% of students in county schools are the free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch they receive in school. The USDA Thrifty Food Plan estimates that a family of four needs to spend $932 per month on groceries. The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit for such a family is $684. Most families on SNAP exhaust their benefits before the end of the month. Inflation has driven food costs up. Food pantries are available, but you need a car to reach them, and many families do not have a car. How would you cope in such a situation?
Juanita has four children. She has lung cancer, for which she receives chemotherapy. We provided assistance and information about other food resources to this family for several months, enabling Juanita to keep the family fed. Food is a basic need, and the need continues to grow. Needing additional food resources is typical of many of the families we serve.