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    Community of Faith
    Articles that reflect the church ministries and faith-based organizations' spiritual rhythm ...
    Feed Loudoun Hosts Fresh Food Drive to Benefit Loudoun County Food Pantries
    Feed LoudounWhat is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o'clock in the morning and again at seven in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops. As a volunteer, gleaning is a fun, family activity that usually lasts no more than about 2 hours on a beautiful fall day. It is also a good activity for groups who are looking for community outreach projects.
    Feed Loudoun, a non-profit organization of Loudoun County, will host a county wide food drive of exclusively fresh fruits and vegetables August 9th through August 16th.

    Individual gardeners, farm markets and farmers are asked to donate their surplus fruits and vegetables to participating food banks.

    Following a successful 2013 gardening season Feed Loudoun donated over 24,000 pounds of produce to local food banks in an effort to provide fresh nutritious food to those in need in the community. Feed Loudoun is an associated volunteer network with the national movement Plant a Row for the Hungry established by the Garden Writers Association. The total of donations for the Feed Loudoun 2014 Harvest will be added to the national Plant a Row totals for the “20 by 20” campaign where the national goal is to have 20 million pounds donated by 2020.

    Feed Loudoun is a uniquely community-based program designed to assist in feeding the hungry here in Loudoun County. Founded in 2009 by Julia Brizendine, the nonprofit is part of a national grass roots initiative started by the Garden Writers Association in 1995.

    Feed Loudoun is comprised of individual gardeners, agri-businesses, farm markets and other community partners who donate their surplus fresh produce to help feed Loudoun's hungry. Fresh food does not go to waste but instead is donated by volunteers in our community to those in need. The collected food is given to various food pantries throughout Loudoun County. Feed Loudoun donates 100% of the produce collected. To date, they have coordinated the donation of over 90,000 pounds of fresh produce to food pantries all over the county!

    Feed Loudoun is an all-volunteer organization. What they need most is your time! However, they do have some modest expenses which have been covered primarily by individual donations and two small, start-up grants from 100 Women Strong and Farm to Fork. The focus is on food and volunteerism.

    Are you a gardener? Could you plant an extra row or two for the hungry? Even if you have no more room in your garden, you probably have excess produce that goes to waste every year, right? Why not put it to good use? Food pantries stock mostly canned goods and other non-perishables because these are the easiest to distribute. However, good nutrition depends on fresh fruits and vegetables. Increasingly, food pantries are willing to accept fresh fruits and vegetables during the growing season. This helps conserve the non-perishable items so that shelves stay fully stocked during lean times in the summer season.

    You can drop your own produce off at one of the listed drop-off locations. Or, if you have a large quantity of food, let Feed Loudoun know and they may be able to help with gleaning.

    The Loudoun farms who donate regularly through gleaning:
    Wegmeyer’s – Hamilton, VA
    Quarter Branch Farm – Lovettsville, VA
    Crooked Run Orchard – Purcellville VA
    Willowsford Farm - Leesburg, VA
    Potomac Vegetable Farm - Lovettsville, VA

    What to grow:

    There is no right or wrong when it comes to growing fruits and veggies for Feed Loudoun Plant a Row. What you want to consider is how long your fruit or veggie will last once harvested. Fruits and veggies with a longer shelf life tend to be more practical (like squash, zucchini, potatoes, beans, onions, carrots, and apples). Food pantries accept all edible fruits and veggies for distribution. You are certainly welcome to donate tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, melons, pears, peaches, herbs, etc. Please don't limit what you grow or donate because it will all be consumed!

    For more information, contact Feed Loudoun's Julia Brizendine at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit

    Please Note

    Some locations (not all) require that you call before drop off (see phone numbers in each listing).

    Catholic Charities (Leesburg)
    Martha Michael, Program Manager
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    12 Cardinal Park Drive SE,
    Leesburg, VA 20175
    703 443-2481
    Donation times: Monday – Thursday 9:30 am until 4:00pm
    * Please call first

    LINK (Sterling)
    Lisa Lombardozzi, Executive Director
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Bob Ashdown, Pantry Manager
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church
    46833 Harry Byrd Hwy.
    P.O. Box 443
    Sterling, VA 20167-0443
    Donation times: LINK can accept produce donations anytime.
    * Please call first.

    Loudoun Interfaith Relief (Leesburg)
    Jaime Rubinos, Manager of Operations
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    750 Miller Drive SE
    Leesburg, VA 20175
    703 777-5911
    Donation times: Monday – Friday 9:30am until 4:00pm Saturday 9:30am until 1:00pm

    Messiahs Market (Ashburn)
    Erika Huddleston, Community Life Executive Director
    Sheri Toler, Pantry Manager
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    19790 Ashburn Road
    Ashburn, VA
    Donation times: We can receive donations by appointment most any time the building is open: M-F: 8:00am until 6:00pm,
    Saturdays we usually have a team here 10-Noon
    * Please call first.

    Seven Loaves (Middleburg)
    Melanie Maloney, President
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    15 W Washington St
    Middleburg, VA 20117
    540 687-3489
    Donation times: M-W-F from 9:00a.m. to Noon or Thursday from 9:00am until 10:00a.m.
    Donations preferred Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

    Tree of Life (Purcellville)
    Brian McMullen, Executive Director
    Linda Watkins, Pantry Manager Tree of Life Center
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    210 N. 21st St., Unit D
    Purcellville, VA 20132
    Donation times: Monday - Thursday 9:00am until Noon.
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    Loudoun food banks reach out to local residents
    LINK Pantry"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday" - Isaiah 58:10. Donations to all food banks typically decrease during the summer months. However, hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation and many students who would otherwise eat breakfast and lunch at school may no longer have access to those meals during the summer. Photo courtesy LINK INC.
    From Round Hill to Sterling Park; from Loudoun Heights to South Riding; local food banks reach out to touch needy families in all four corners of Loudoun County.

    The escalating cost of living combined with the loss of higher paying jobs has put many people in our area in a financial dilemma. Lower wage jobs appear to be a larger share of our community’s total employment. The surge in population and rising cost of housing in our community have added stress on resources and make it much harder for lower wage earners to make ends meet. Those with modest income struggle to pay for housing, groceries, childcare, health care, and education among other essentials. Imagine the difficulty of choosing whether your family eats or has clothes on their back? Many families with children living in at-risk situations depend on local food banks in order to have enough money to make rent. Keeping families stable in the same home helps children remain in one school and prevents them from experiencing the loss of family members, friends and familiar neighborhoods.

    Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released in June 2013 Map The Meal Gap 2013 at which provides estimates of food insecurity at the county and congressional district level. Food insecurity is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measure of the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Loudoun County, Virginia has one of the highest median household incomes in the nation, yet nearly 17,000 of its residents are food insecure. Currently weekly grocery requirements for local food banks are great. The crux of the problem is that during summer there is an increased concern for needy families with school-age kids because there are few school breakfast or lunch programs at this time.

    Due to the extraordinarily high demand for food to support our neighbors, the local food bank pantry shelves require your donations to fill them to the maximum. Food and monetary donations are desperately needed to serve needy families. Foods that will help the most are peanut butter, jelly, cereal, cake and cookie mixes, canned tomato products, bagged beans or rice, canned black beans, canned chicken, canned fruit, oatmeal, canned chili and all types of soups.

    Catholic Charities
    12 Cardinal Park Drive, SE, Suite 105
    Leesburg, VA 20175

    Food Pantry available Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Clients may access once every 4 weeks. Clients self-select the foods they need.

    Dulles South Food Pantry
    Arcola United Methodist Church
    24757 Evergreen Mill Road
    Dulles, VA 20166

    Serving families in the Dulles South (within the boundaries of John Champe High School and Freedom High School) regardless of income. Food Pantry is available the 1st, 3rd & 5th Wednesday monthly from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    Visit First. time guests must fill out a Guest Registration Form (available on website).

    Grace Tabernacle
    Serves Leesburg, Ashburn and Sterling
    Call & leave message: volunteer will coordinate delivery.

    Grace Ministries
    Sterling United Methodist Church
    304 East Church Road
    Sterling, VA 20164

    Serving families in Sterling/Loudoun communities. Monthly food distribution on the second Saturday monthly. Doors open at 7:00 a.m. Distribution is from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

    Guilford Food Pantry
    Guilford Baptist Church
    1001 Ruritan Circle
    Sterling, VA

    Serves Ashburn and Sterling residents. Delivery available.
    Hours: Opens at 9:00 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month, or by appointment.

    Hands of Compassion
    New Life Church
    207 East Holly Avenue, Suite 120
    Sterling, VA 20175

    Hours: First Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Loudoun Interfaith Relief
    750 Miller Drive, Suite A-1
    Leesburg, VA

    May visit two times per month. Must provide picture ID and proof of Loudoun County residency.
    Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
    Tuesday & Thursday (Evenings by appointment only) 5:45 p.m. – 7:20 p.m.

    LINK Food Bank
    P. O. Box 443
    Sterling, Virginia 20167
    Dial (703) 437-1776

    Serves Ashburn, Herndon and Sterling residents with food items that have been donated (Faith-based).
    Hours: Not applicable. (Representative usually delivers food to client’s home.)
    Call and leave a message and a volunteer will contact you.
    Mobile Pantry: Second Tuesday of each month (rain or shine) at Christ the Redeemer, rear parking lot (46833 Harry Byrd Highway – Sterling) from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Messiah’s Market
    Ashburn Community Church
    19790 Ashburn Road
    Ashburn, VA

    Families in need can go once per week. Must provide picture ID that shows proof of Loudoun County residency.
    Hours: Monday and Tuesday – 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

    Reston Bible Church
    45650 Oakbrook Court
    Sterling, VA 20166
    Wednesday 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM & Saturday 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    The food pantry at Reston Bible Church feeds 300 families in Loudoun County every week.

    Salvation Army Meal Distribution Program
    703-771-3371 – Saturday Evenings – Hot Meal Program
    Hours: 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
    Shenandoah Office Building Parking Lot
    102 Heritage Way, N.E.
    Leesburg, VA

    5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    Sterling Park Plaza Shopping Center (near Big Lots)
    South Sterling Boulevard
    Sterling, VA

    Seven Loaves Services
    Middleburg United Methodist Church
    15 W. Washington Street
    Middleburg, VA

    May visit one time per week. Must present ID that shows client’s name and address at first visit each year.
    In 2013, Seven Loaves served patrons from 18 counties in Virginia.
    Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

    St. James Episcopal Church – Hot Meal Program
    14 Cornwall Street
    Leesburg, VA 20176

    Free Meal served on the last 3 Mondays of each Month; 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

    The Tree of Life Food Pantry
    Tree of Life Center
    210 North 21st Street
    Purcellville, VA 20132
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    For residents living west of Leesburg. Call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and leave name and number; they will contact client within two business days. Limited number of visits within six-month period (Christian-based).
    Hours: Not applicable. (Representative delivers to client.)

    Free Dinner served every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Tree of Life Center (individuals and families of all ages invited)

    Western Loudoun Food Pantry
    (Lovettsville Area)
    Contact Pam Hayba (parent liaison) to visit the pantry.
    Lovettsville Elementary (540-751-2470) or Woodgrove High School (540-751-2470)
    or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Supplemental Food Program

    Good Faith Food Box: Save up to 40% on groceries
    Call 703-421-3416 mailbox # 2.
    Tyrena Lewis – New Life Assembly of God Food Ministry
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    The Last Taboo Subject: Death
    Special to Community of Faith
    By Julia Habel Thompson

    My husband and I were told last year by hospice nurses that people die pretty much in the same way they have lived their lives. Some see evil and the demonic while others like my dad see angels, Jesus, Light, and in Dad's case, his two parents whom he, quite lucidly and happily related, looked great!

    We live in a culture of denial about death, and it is the last taboo for conversation. Yet, both death and resurrection are imprinted all about us in nature. A seed falls in the ground like a corpse laid to rest, but it is planted by a seed sower -- either the proverbial heavenly hand or a human hand--with the expectation that, in due course, new life will emerge from the sown entity.

    Jesus's teaching about resurrection corresponds, so to think that the concept and the reality of resurrection is "unnatural" or to write them off as supernatural mumbo jumbo -- hence impossible -- really, in my mind, goes against the grain of basic science here. Matter is not destroyed; it can and does change forms, though, as when ice melts into a liquid state (Law of the Conservation of Matter).

    Medical science has prolonged life and, thus, has put off the discussion of death in many families unlike during The Middle Ages or in periods such as when The Black Plague ravaged Europe. In my view, as an educator, young people are overly shielded from the reality that awaits all. They hear about the Grim Reaper in literature and learn to dread what is really as normal a part of life as being born. Yet, they have not been taught it is normal because some parents believe they should protect their children from the subject matter. Or, too, some parents live in denial of their own deaths to come.

    I believe though, when one faces the inevitability of his or her death early on, he or she can live more intentionally. I love Quaker Anne Bradstreet's poems for this reason. Knowing that she would one day be departed, by death, from her beloved husband, she resolves, therefore, to love all the more.

    I see, too, a whole generation of young people today outside faith communities who are secularized and unchurched and have scant knowledge about the hopeful message of death followed by resurrection that is expressed by Christ. Moreover, many have unwittingly opened themselves up to any and every message both positive and negative that is put out in cyberspace and, thus, are tossed and turned like ships with no rudder. Really, it's not surprising to me that we are hearing more and more stories about some such young people showing up at schools and killing others. They are what people in another generation would label as being lost. Not only have they not been given tools to handle the reality of death, they have not been given the tools to handle life, and in many cases, because God is not a part of the equation, there is no barometer with which to evaluate what is good and evil. Many choices are based, thus, on shifting emotions. The concept -- and reality -- of good and evil, too, has been muted by those who believe solely in biological determinism and, thus, one’s genes as being THE determinant of all human behavior and that what we see in this life is all there is. Yet, Christ talks about an imparted and transformative nature -- given by the Spirit of God to biological man -- that causes him or her to triumph over those human impulses that can destroy a person and others, too. He also embodies for humans the promise of what is inherent in all of nature: resurrected life and in the case of humans, resurrected personhood: “I am the resurrection and the light; he who believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:26).

    The subject of a judgment to come, too, is seen to be antiquated today by many, and the message thus, that gets translated to young minds in some twisted cases is that behaviors -- whatever they might be -- also should have no consequences, a reworking of Nietzsche’s “beyond good and evil" philosophy. Dostoevsky incidentally debunked this view of human nature that was going around Western Europe and Russia in his day in his didactic novel Crime and Punishment. Perhaps we need to resurrect this novel again for widespread discussion in our culture.

    As for myself, I am thankful for a clergy father who took me to funerals at a young age, and in my mind they were synonymous with weddings.

    Watching him die joyfully, as a 94-year saint, really, I felt like a nurse midwife birthing someone into eternity. He, like his great, great, great Cornish grandmother (who also had lived to be a nonagenarian) who was converted to the Christian faith when John Wesley preached in her father’s home, was eager to be with Christ in heaven.

    My comment when he passed was that I wish everyone on the planet could witness one death such as this, for they would never again fear dying.

    Note: Julia Habel Thompson is a retired public school English teacher now teaching in a parochial school in Fairfax Country and is the daughter, grandchild, niece, and great, great grandchild of Virginia clergy. A graduate of both The University of Richmond and The University of Virginia, Julia considered ordination when she attended Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, but felt there was a greater need outside the church amongst young people. She continues to feel that way, especially with the secularization of American society as a whole. With taboos about any and everything eroded, the last taboo, though is the subject of death.

    Julia Habel Thompson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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    About the Blogger
    Mark Gunderman writes and solicits articles that reflect the Church ministries and faith-based organizations' spiritual rhythm and follows the seasons of the Church. The Church and its ministries are relevant for news articles all year round, not just during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Church and the media have many philosophical differences, yet common denominators link them together. Both have a message they want to articulate. An inherent responsibility for both is to communicate successfully.

    "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant to all" (Mark 9:35).