As Federal Benefits Drop, Food Insecurity Escalates in Herndon Area

Rotarians, People of Action, hold food drive.

For more than a month, like other unemployed workers across the United States, those in the Herndon area struggle to afford food and housing on state benefits alone when work remains scarce. In August, Congress left Washington without extending its supplemental unemployment benefits, previously $600 a week, approved under the CARES act that came on top of aid states paid. Entering the second week of September, those unemployed have gone more than a month without receiving the enhancement. According to The Century Foundation, the plunge in weekly payment for the average Virginia worker receiving unemployment was 68.8 percent.

Local food banks saw an increased number of calls for assistance. Seeing the need, the Rotary Satellite Club of Herndon held a food donation for LINK, Inc. at Green Lizard Cycling in Herndon. The t-shirts Rotarians wore on Saturday, Sept. 5, read "People of Action." Rotarians collected grocery items and cash donations to benefit community residents struggling to put meals on the table. "The need for food does not stop," said Peggy O'Reilly, Rotarian. "It's important we take care of one another."

LINK, Inc. is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides emergency food and financial assistance to qualified people in need. According to LINK's website, those requesting emergency food call its phone line, and a coordinator calls back. For those who qualify, a delivery is scheduled. Each family receives about a five-day supply of non-perishable food and a certificate to purchase perishable food per each request.

The Green Lizard Foundation, represented by Dan Fisher, President and Scott Schelling, Vice President, lent a hand with curbside drop-offs. "We are very happy to help support this very worthwhile cause," said Fischer. Schelling added, "The Green Lizard Foundation...looks forward to supporting other events like this in the future."

Chair Signe Friedrichs, Rotary Herndon Satellite Club, said, "In addition to donations of food and household products LINK can pass along to its clients, charitable cash contributions totaled $472."

As of Sept. 2, the Federal Emergency Management Agency guarantees three weeks of funding to states it approved for enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefit authorized by President Trump on Aug. 8. Virginia received approval on Aug. 26. It is one of the authorized states to begin paying $300 from the Disaster Relief Fund for the lost wages program, in addition to state unemployment benefits. The benefits start date is yet to be determined for Virginia.

Food and cash donations to local organizations remain critical. Access sites including those that deliver food such as Emergency Food by LINK, Inc. through Capital Area Food Bank at Food Delivery - Herndon, VA | The Food Bank Network.

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