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Virginia nonprofit helps families during historic inflation spike

Mobile Hope provides support and emergency shelter to youth who are at-risk, precariously housed or homeless and empowers them to become self-sufficient.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Historic inflation and the rising cost of food continues to impact many American families, including here in our region. 

A Northern Virginia nonprofit hopes to help by providing meals and other vital household items to families who need it most.

To help fill the need, the nonprofit Mobile Hope makes 11 stops across Northern Virginia, including in Manassas, Sterling, Reston, Herndon and Leesburg.

"We have grown exponentially because of the pandemic and I think what makes us unique is our mobile units. We go out into hard-hit communities and deliver right there so we remove barriers," said Donna Fortier, the CEO and founder of Mobile Hope.

Fortier said their organization has served more than 315,000 families since the start of the pandemic.

"We expected there to be a reduction and there was a small little dip and now it is kind of back up because of the pricing of everything. People are staying home because of the price of gas, they are still losing their jobs and what we trying to do with our outreach is we like to try and provide families with things that we can give them for free so they can save their money for rent and gas and electric," said Fortier.

Every week, volunteers pack up the truck and show up in neighborhoods around the region, providing needed food, hygiene and other household items.

"Food is very, very expensive and produce especially so what we try to do is work with our food partners and deliver fresh produce so that families can have that instead of just the boxed processed stuff," said Fortier. 

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The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of the increase due to higher energy costs. 

The Consumer Price Index shows the price of eggs is up more than 20% compared to a year ago. Dairy products are also up about 9%, government data shows.

Lower-income and Black and Hispanic American have been hit especially hard, since a disproportionate share of their income goes toward essentials such as transportation, housing and food. But with the cost of many goods and services rising faster than average incomes, a vast majority of Americans are feeling the pinch in their daily routines.

Food insecurity is not isolated to Virginia. According to the Capital Area Food Bank’s 2021 Hunger Report, food scarcity has become more widespread across the DC region. In D.C., government data shows one out of every ten people in the District is food insecure.

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