Letter: Rhonda Wilson Paice, Leesburg

Editor: I write to encourage your readers to support the Ampersand Pantry Project, a great example of local action in the fight against food insecurity, a constant problem made worse by the recent economic shutdown.

Nonprofit organizations that fight hunger every day, including the amazing Loudoun Hunger Relief,  press on with their invaluable work and have found ways to expand their services in response to Covid-19. Local governments also play an important role, but there is only do so much they can do in a crisis of this magnitude. Unlike the federal government, counties and towns are not allowed to run deficits. Their tight budgets, made tighter by the recent loss of revenue, leave little room to maneuver. Meanwhile, too many of our neighbors find themselves unable to feed their families.

What are we to do? Get active at the local level.

 Local action is happening in Leesburg with the Ampersand Pantry Project. The Project started earlier this year with a little free pantry next to Crossroads Baptist Church on Edwards Ferry Road. Then Covid hit. The Ampersand Pantry Project knew it had to expand and expand it did. 

Operating out of the former Tastee Freez across from McDonalds on East Market Street, the Ampersand Pantry Project provides free lunches, without questions, to as many people as it can. The Project also gives out diapers and wipes, which are always in demand. The Project has gone from distributing 25 lunches on its first day to over 250 a day in just two weeks. The lunches are nutritious and delicious, thanks to the generosity and creativity of local restaurants who chipped in without hesitation, providing food prepared in their commercial kitchens at as low a cost as they can afford. Their participation feeds hundreds of people a day and keeps restaurant workers on the job, even if it is at a greatly reduced level. Meanwhile, the Tastee Freez building, modified with a makeshift roller conveyor, is the perfect location for contact-free, social-distanced meal distribution. The Project has had remarkable early success. It will need our help to sustain it.

The Ampersand Pantry Project is local action at its finest. It deserves all the support we can give it. Donations are tax deductible and, like everything else these days, the Ampersand Pantry Project can be found on the web. I encourage all of my neighbors to look it up and do what they can to help.

Rhonda Wilson Paice, Leesburg

3 thoughts on “Letter: Rhonda Wilson Paice, Leesburg

  • 2020-05-04 at 4:06 pm

    Ms. Paice, thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is obviously a worthwhile and necessary service to those in Loudoun who have been affected by circumstances beyond their control.
    I hope that anyone who is able will contribute to help the Project as long as there are citizens in need.

  • 2020-05-05 at 3:15 pm

    Is anyone tired of all the charities asking for more, more, more, non stop. I am sure they are all good causes but the non stop barrage of begging is out of control with the on-line papers and internet pages. We must have the best fed needy people in the world in Loudoun. I propose a charity ad free day!

  • 2020-05-12 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I think this is a great idea and I am glad to see local charities and businesses responding to local needs! This “civil society” is one of the core elements of what made American great.

    I am only surprised by the failure to explicitly mention an address, web site and contact info. I’m new to LoCo so obscure references such as “the old Tastee Freez” aren’t as helpful as one might think.

    Is there some Loudoun County Now prohibition regarding providing direct contact info for organizations trying to help others?

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