Breaking News
More () »

Loudoun Co. food pantry combats food insecurity in the community with successful food drive

WUSA9 partnered with the Dulles South Food Pantry to combat food insecurity in the DMV area.

SOUTH RIDING, Va. — On a hot summer day, a person walks up to a local Giant grocery store in South Riding, Virginia and delivers dozens of canned food alongside other non-perishable items. Later that day, as the temperatures continued to rise, more and more people come to donate food and other life necessities for a good cause – to give people relief from food insecurity.

WUSA9 partnered alongside the Dulles South Food Pantry on Wednesday for the food drive to combat the ongoing issue of food insecurity in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. People of all ages contributed to the effort and donated non-perishable foods, baby food, laundry detergent, hygiene goods, dog food and more.

Food insecurity is a pressing issue in the DMV area with one in three people experiencing it just last year, according to data from Capital Area Food Bank’s Hunger Report 2022. However, the issue is experienced by many, regardless of location. The Dulles South Food Pantry serves a portion of Loudoun County’s population and despite the county being recognized as one of the wealthiest in the nation, there are still pockets of people in the community who experience hunger.

People give for countless reasons; Reagan Roney, the golf committee chair for Dulles South Food Pantry gives because of moments he remembers from his childhood.

“It’s near and dear to my heart because I come from a family where we had a single mother and we had food insecurity… So, to get me to participate in an organization that helps our neighbors was an easy sell," he shared.

Melissa, a mother and recipient of Dulles South Food Pantry, is full of gratitude for the organization’s work and contribution to relieving food insecurity in the community.

“When you have a family, then you see the cost of living in this area is so beautiful, but it's so expensive and so we found this helping hand and it makes a big difference for us; for our family,” said Melissa. “

She said her children look forward to their visit to the food pantry, which they refer to as “the blessing.”

“I want people to know that there's so much kindness out there; that there's still people that make a difference,” Melissa said.

RELATED: WUSA9 kickstarts food insecurity relief initiative | Giving Matters

The Dulles South Food Pantry is serving more people now than they ever have, according to Meg Phillips, the executive director of Dulles South Food Pantry.

“We are seeing more people than ever before, even at the height of the pandemic. Our numbers are through the roof for us right now and our food donations and financial donations have started to dip a little bit as well.

The Dulles South Food Bank serves Dulles South and surrounding areas. Robin Kinkead, the pantry’s operation manager said Dulles South Food Pantry began operating in 2014 where the organization fed seven families. Today, they serve 150 families a week, which adds up to 1,200 people a month.

“We've seen our guest counts continue to rise with this recent inflation and gas price. We had thought once COVID ended, we were going to kind of take a breath, and we are not. We are full-on still marathon sprinting, which is tough,” said Kinkead.

Phillips said if someone is interested in the food bank’s services, they can book an appointment to begin the process of getting more food on the table.

RELATED: Feed the Family Pantry in DC's Ward 3 in danger of closing its doors

Many of those who donated at Wednesday’s event expressed their concern over the number of people facing hunger in their community.

“Hunger doesn’t show up like you expect hunger to show up,” said Devina Mahapatra, a resident of Loudoun County. “It’s not okay for someone to go to bed hungry.”

“I look for every opportunity I can to give back. I come to this store on a regular basis and too many people are hungry, and I am very grateful for what I have. So, if I see an opportunity where I can share, that’s what I want to do,” said Diane Rosen, a Loudoun County resident.

WUSA9 will continue to partner with other local organizations that are contributing to the fight against food insecurity in the area. On Wednesday, July 27, WUSA9 will be in Rockville, Maryland for a food drive at a local Giant grocery store in partnership with for Manna Food Center.

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out