FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9)--- "I get to go home and make something to eat for you know my little ones," said Lamar Edmonds on his first trip to Food for Others. The non-profit organization distributes free food from its warehouse. Edmonds gets bread, a package of food along with milk and eggs. The items are a part of the Emergency Assistance Program.
Northern Virginia has about 90,000 people living in poverty. The number represents about 5 percent of the population in the area, according to the U.S. Census.
Food for Others makes sure area residents won't have to suffer from hunger.
"People are always going to experience emergencies. People's houses burn down, they may have experienced a job loss, someone will get sick in the family who is the major breadwinner," explained Roxanne Rice, Executive Director of Food for Others.
Each month, Food for Others distributes food directly to over 2,000 families in Northern Virginia. Edmonds, 30, has been struggling to find a job. Social services referred him to the non-profit organization so he can feed his family in Alexandria.
"I feel great. I feel excellent, you know what I'm saying? I'm not even going to lie to you. I mean it just lift my spirits up," Edmonds described his emotions at the warehouse. He is a full-time dad with two young children.
"As soon as school comes out, I'm going to go get my daughter for the summer and let them have fun. I told them no need to pay for summer camps, I'll be the summer camp," he said.
To help feed his family, Edmonds can return five more times over the course of the year. Each package of food is intended to last between three to five days. Meanwhile, he continues to look for a job.
"All I need is an inch, I don't need the whole yard. Just an inch-- some type of help," he explained.
The Food for Others warehouse receives donations from grocery stores, food banks and food drives.
"One of the greatest things about working here is working with the volunteers. They are here because they want to be here. They're giving up their free time to work", expressed Rice.
Nine people make up the full-time staff, while about 500 volunteers make up the bulk of the workforce.
"It's great to be in a situation and an environment like that where, you know, someone's not always downing you. They're trying to help you," said Edmonds.
Food for Others also distributes free food in two other main ways:
1. neighborhood sites in Northern Virginia.
2. local charitable organizations within its list of community partners.
NOTE: Gannett Foundation has provided a grant to Food for Others.
Produced/Written by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA9 & WUSA9.com