Capital Area Food Bank encourages donors to write legacy letters

Woman hand with pen writing a letter.

More than 140,000 children under the age of 18 have lost a parent or custodial grandparent to COVID-19, modeling from a recent study suggests.

Minority children account for 65 percent of people who lost a primary care giver due to COVID.

One local nonprofit believes this is a time for people to think about their legacy.

“Now all of us know we may not wake up tomorrow. It’s not promised, ” Christel Hair said. Hair is the Senior Director of Individual & Planned Giving at the Capital Area Food Bank in northeast D.C.

They’re urging donors to write legacy letters. She added that it is something very different from a legal document or a trust. It’s also known as an ethical will.



“It allows you to share what inspired you to make some of the decisions that you leave in your will,” Hair said.

What you write can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be.

“It is very cathartic and eye opening and it makes folks feel like they’ve tied a double knot on a shoe lace,” she said. “It gives a certain sense of security, so to speak.”

Hair wrote her own legacy letter — she was only 37 years old — after her husband died. She said she had two young boys and that “at the time, it was important to me and to our family to get that done.”

You can leave it with the lawyers who are taking care of your will or leave it in a safe.

Hair said some people place their legacy letters in a safe or with an attorney.

“Some people write personal letters… to my son or to my daughter, or just leave one legacy letter to everyone in your family,” she said.

They don’t help write legacy letters, but they do recommend it as additional information for donors to their organization and other organizations.

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. You can read more of that coverage by clicking here.

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