Fairfax Co. residents buy groceries for those in need, including hungry feds

Volunteers load donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Volunteers load donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
A bus full of donated food for those in need sits outside of the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
A bus full of donated food for those in need sits outside of the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Fairfax County Board Of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova helped to load donated food for those in need, including federal government workers onto a bus in Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Fairfax County Board Of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova helped to load donated food for those in need, including federal government workers onto a bus in Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Volunteers loaded donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Volunteers loaded donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano) (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
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Volunteers load donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
A bus full of donated food for those in need sits outside of the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Fairfax County Board Of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova helped to load donated food for those in need, including federal government workers onto a bus in Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Volunteers loaded donated food outside of Giant Food in the Fox Mill neighborhood of Herndon. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

HERNDON, Va. — Shoppers at several Northern Virginia grocery stores reached into their hearts and dug into their pockets to help buy groceries Saturday for those in need, including federal workers who have missed a paycheck.

“We are a company town and so many people who live here in this community are associated, in some way, with the federal government,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova, outside the Giant Food store in the Fox Mill neighborhood in Herndon.

“This year it’s more important than ever. Our nonprofits have seen an uptick in people … asking for help — people who had never thought that they would need it. So these are federal employees and federal contractors. Folks who have been living responsibly, get a paycheck and now they’re not,” Bulova said.

The county teams with area nonprofit organizations to help replenish charitable food pantries, which typically run short in the winter months.

Bulova joined a group of volunteers loading boxes of groceries, including pet food, that will eventually be distributed to families who are in need. Donations were also collected Saturday at the McLean Giant and at Mount Vernon Plaza Shoppers Food Warehouse.

“We always think that Fairfax County people aren’t hungry, but obviously they are,” said Cheryl Freeman, a volunteer with “Helping Hungry Kids,” a 10-year-old Fairfax County group that provides food packs, including granola bars to kids in schools who don’t have enough to eat.

The county and the nonprofits will team up in February food drive collections at eight other locations in the county.

One shopper at the Herndon Giant was particularly generous on Saturday.

“I saw a gentleman … with a grocery cart and he said, ‘Fill it up, just fill it up,’ and they stuffed as much into this grocery cart as they could,” said Bulova about the anonymous donor who purchased more than $300 of groceries for those in need.

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