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Ashburn moms provide Thanksgiving meals to hundreds in need

Melanie Kelly with local Girl Scouts who collected donations for Thanksgiving meals.
Six years ago, Melanie Kelly started a backpack drive to support children at her elementary school in Ashburn. Through this program, she became aware of many local families in need of assistance.

Working with the school's parent liason staff, she asked them how many families would be without a Thanksgiving meal that year.

The response was shocking to her – and she immediately wanted to help.

“I recognize we do have people here who are struggling and we can help them. We want to make sure no kid feels like they are different from anyone else,” Kelly said.

Kelly began asking her friends if they could contribute food to provide meals for about 50 families. She set up a sign up genius form online to organize the supply list.

The program – now known as “Share a little thanks” - has grown over the years. The first year in 2012, they provided about 50 to 75 meals, last year there were 142 meals – and this year, they have donated 220 meals which will feed 1,154 people.

Kelly said each box contains “a complete Thanksgiving meal” with a turkey, fresh vegetables, and special treats such as hot cocoa and cider.

Over the weekend, volunteers packed the boxes and they have been distributed to 22 schools in Loudoun. Each recipient can anonymously pick up the food through their school's parent liason.

Caroline Molthen, who has volunteered for the group over the years said the project “evokes such a feeling of giving back to the the community.”

“It is such a great thing, and it helps teach our kids what it means to give back,” she said.

Harris Teeter in Southern Walk Plaza has been a strong supporter of the program as well. Employees at the store use the financial donations “Share a little thanks” receives and they put together about half of the boxes at the store. Local Girl Scouts and Boys Scouts have also helped the cause, as well as area sports teams.

“Thanksgiving is all about bringing families together - and it is an awesome thing to be able to feed them for the weekend,” Kelly said.

For more information, visit “Share a little thanks” on Facebook.


Shouldn’t this number be shrinking considering all the help wanted signs posted?

Loudoun County is the richest county in America.  I think it needs a few more angels like Melanie Kelly.  There are many areas in Loudoun County that need help.  Mostly, the children.  The children need meals, help with school supplies, activities and sports fees and supplies. All good things to keep kids on the right track and give them hope that someone cares.  Especially if things are not good at home.  Great work Melanie!

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