Demand up at food banks in Fairfax County - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Demand up at food banks in Fairfax County

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Even before the trimming of federal expenditures for food assistance, food banks in Fairfax County, Va., have reported a significant increase in demand in recent months.

By most measures -- educational attainment, household income, etc. -- Fairfax County is one of the most upscale communities in the nation.

But, even here, there are food banks where volunteers put together donated merchandise for families who simply don't make enough money to adequately feed themselves.

Maira Eguez says she can get only 20 hours a week at her restaurant job: "I have only a part-time work. I have three kids ... I'm a single mother."

About a quarter of the students who attend Fairfax County Public Schools are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The Food for Others food bank has a weekend plan for hungry kids. For students who routinely get their breakfast and lunch at school, there is what is called a "power pack" program. Every week, 2,300 bags full of packaged and canned food are sent home with students, so the children won't go hungry on the weekend.

The need is rising, according to Roxanne Rice, executive director of Food for Others: "The demand, since the beginning of July, 2013, has gone up 26 percent [compared with] those same months last year."

Another food bank, Our Daily Bread, renders aid in emergency cases. Lisa Whetzel, executive director, explained: "We get referrals from Fairfax County social workers that are saying, 'This family is in dire need. They have nothing in their cupboards.' And so then we provide that family with two weeks worth of food assistance."

Demand for emergency assistance in the last month at Our Daily Bread has doubled.

Staffers at both food banks hope prosperous residents of Fairfax County increase their donations.

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