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Unprecendented Need Expected for Fairfax Holiday Sponsor-a-Family Program | Community Spirit

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Unprecendented Need Expected for Fairfax Holiday Sponsor-a-Family Program

This was sent to us by Heather Webb of Our Daily Bread, Inc.:

FAIRFAX, VA. (October 5, 2010) – Fairfax-based non-profit Our Daily Bread, Inc. (ODB) announces the launch of its 2010 Holiday Program to assist needy families in the Fairfax County area. The organization is seeking individuals, families, companies and community groups to “sponsor” eligible families by providing a Thanksgiving meal, December holiday meal and gifts for children.

ODB operates the Holiday Program through a grant from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. Coordinating closely with social workers and community-based organizations who serve families throughout the County, ODB works to ensure that as many eligible families as possible who have been identified as having a great need are able to receive holiday assistance.

In 2009, ODB’s Holiday Program served more than 3,700 families. With the current state of the economy and a higher unemployment rate, ODB expects to receive many more requests for assistance this year – and many from families that have never before been in the position of requesting assistance.

In one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, many families throughout Fairfax walk a thin line between self-reliance and poverty. This was true even before the recession hit, and it is an escalating problem. Based on 2007 estimates, a two-parent family with two school-aged children would need to make more than $56,000 per year to achieve financial self-sufficiency in the County.  However, if both parents are working full-time minimum-wage jobs, they would earn less than $28,000 per year. The County’s unemployment rate in July was 5.1 percent – up from 4.8 percent from the same time last year.  This means more families who were already in crisis before the recession are potentially worse off, and families who were subsisting or even prospering before the recession may be in crisis. In some cases, this may be a temporary crisis that will be resolved as the economy improves and more jobs become available. In others, it may take a year or more for a family to regain its financial footing.

Our Daily Bread Executive Director Lisa Whetzel said, “Our Daily Bread’s Holiday Sponsor-a-Family Program presents a wonderful opportunity for families, businesses and community groups to give in a very special way this holiday season. In the past two years the demand for assistance has outpaced our funding ability to help. We receive an average of five calls for help per day that we have to turn away for lack of resources. We know many organizations like ours in the area are having similar experiences.  This leads us to believe there will be even greater need this year for holiday assistance.” She added, “We hope the community will come together to make the season brighter for hard-working families who may otherwise go without holiday meals and presents for their children.”

Those interested in sponsoring a family or families for the holidays may sign up at www.our-daily-bread.org, using ODB’s easy and secure on-line registration form.  ODB also greatly welcomes cash donations to help provide gift cards to families who are not sponsored. Donations may be made on ODB’s web site or by mail. For more information about the Holiday Program, contact Our Daily Bread at 703-273-8829 or info@ODBfairfax.org.

Our Daily Bread is a volunteer-based organization focused on easing the plight of low-income residents in the Fairfax County area of Virginia. In addition to Holiday assistance, ODB provides qualified clients temporary food assistance, emergency financial assistance, financial literacy training, and Back to School assistance. For information visit www.our-daily-bread.org.