Loudoun Hunger Relief (LHR) has worked to combat hunger and food insecurity in Loudoun County for the past 25 years. Now, thanks to grant funding and donations, that mission will be a little easier to achieve.
LHR has leveraged and matched a $25,000 100WomenStrong grant to purchase two new refrigerated vans. The vans were revealed at an event at HealthWorks for Northern Virginia on April 4 in Leesburg.
A gift from The Wheeler Family Foundation and an anonymous donor more than doubled the initial grant amount, LHR Executive Director Jennifer Montgomery said.
Loudoun County-based nonprofit 100WomenStrong seeks to invest in organizations and programs that enrich the lives of county residents. The grant was intended to be the seed money for the purchase of a single $40,000 refrigerated van.
“Seed grants and matches are really powerful tools to spur action in our community,” Montgomery said.
Lynn Rubin, 100WomenStrong vice president, said the organization wanted to help LHR get food to county residents. Grocery stores were willing to donate food, but LHR had no way to transport all the donations without additional vans, she said. The two new vans will not only deliver food to families in need, but the vans can also be plugged into an outlet to keep the refrigerator on during the weekend and allow community members to place food donations inside the van, which LHR can then distribute during its working weekday hours.
“We’re not trying to just give money for things, we’re trying to make organizations stronger,” Rubin said.
Including the two new vans, LHR has four refrigerated vans which serve 50 to 70 families — roughly equal to 200 people a day, LHR Operations Manager Robinson Villalobo said. The vans will allow LHR to move more food donations and increase the quality of food given to families by taking more frozen items and keeping produce fresher, longer.
“The vans are not just refrigerators on wheels. They are the vehicles moving healthy foods at peak freshness from donors to those in need. These vans are providing another means to nourish our Loudoun community,” Montgomery said in a statement.