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January 27, 2021

NAACP, barbecue business partner to feed the needy

Photo/Jennifer Coates
USA BBQ owner Craig Riddle, NAACP member Gail Jeffries, Michael Logan of USA BBQ and Joe Washington of the NAACP helped provide hot meals to 63 people last Saturday.
By Debra A. Copeland
Fauquier NAACP

On Saturday, Jan. 23, members of Fauquier County NAACP Branch 7059, working with Craig Riddle of USA-BBQ, delivered hot, nourishing meals to 63 people whose living conditions do not include cooking facilities.

“Awareness that food and housing insecurity adversely impact health, as well as the belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to live a full and healthy life, provided motivation for this effort,” said Kathy Marmet, secretary of the Fauquier NAACP and chairwoman of its Health Committee.

With the additional awareness that some may not have a kitchen to cook the frozen turkeys and vegetables provided by local pantries and food banks during the holidays, the plan initially was to offer fully cooked, hot holiday meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas — but also to work to raise additional funds to continue the effort, Ms. Marmet said. “Hunger and food insecurity don’t take holidays.”

For a time last year, local food banks were concerned that they would not be able to meet the food needs of some 700 Fauquier residents who had requested assistance at Thanksgiving.

When she learned of that, Fauquier NAACP Health Committee member Brittney Rutledge Carlos, initiated the Nourishing Our Neighbors project in late October.

Joe Washington, an NAACP member and chairman of Programs and Events, put forth a similar proposal. The two committees joined forces and recruited others to help with the project.

Early in the planning process, the committee learned that local churches were also collaborating to offer hot holiday meals to local families and others with need. The committee became aware that financial stress related to COVID-19 was creating real food insecurity for many previously self-sufficient people.

A Nov. 20 Washington Post article featured Sharon Ames, Executive Director of the Fauquier Community Food Bank and Thrift Store Executive Director Sharon Ames. It did much to spread word of the growing need, not just in Fauquier, but across the region.

Happily, people answered the call. So much so, in fact, that the NAACP committee decided to wait to use the funds it had collected to carry out its goal of continuing the offering of hot meals into January. The decision was based on advice from local experts who indicated that while programs and contributions addressing food needs generally spike during the holidays, they frequently decline after the start of the new year.

Donations from 21 Fauquier NAACP members and parishioners of St. Andrew's Catholic Church at Casanova have generated $1,850 to date.

The committee hope to “nourish our neighbors” well into the future, as well as to advocate for policies and programs that give every citizen an opportunity to live in good health.

“The project was a great success and folks were very appreciative,” said Gail Jeffries, another Fauquier NAACP Health Committee member. “As funding allows, the NAACP hopes to repeat this effort to connect with our community.”

Other participants in the project include NAACP members Kim Gibson, MacKenzie Miller and longtime Fauquier NAACP member and co-author of Fauquier Community Coalition’s report, “Poverty in Fauquier County,” Jean Lowe.

“I am so pleased to have been part of the thinking about this project,” Ms. Lowe said. “It is such a great effort from the NAACP.”

The Fauquier NAACP soon will be able to accept credit cards. For now, donations may be made by making checks payable to Fauquier NAACP, with a notation “Nourishing Our Neighbors” or “NON,” and mailed to P.O. Box 82, Bealeton, Va. 22712.

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BestKeptSecrets · January 30, 2021 at 4:22 pm
There are so many that need running water in their homes. I am shocked our legislators don't go personally to these peoples homes and apologize for the lack of assistance to help uplift them. Go out in the neighorhoods of the poor. Those without the basic needs are at the bottom of Maslow Heirachy of needs and that is a shame. Every Fauquier County resident should have access to fresh, running water and utilities. If you can't get more subsidized housing to handle the poor, it is time to put in new leaders. Start with the director of social services who may be new but she has to tackle this issue from within her own agency. CPS has knowledge of these families and should coordinate the resources needed to make this happen.
Savefauquiercounty2019 · January 29, 2021 at 5:53 pm
Also, NAACP, please help the seniors living on fixed incomes that can not get into assisted living here in Fauquier. They have to leave the area. This is unethical and unfair. Assisted living facilities should always maintain rooms available for the poor in the county. Their expense is enormous. There is also a long waiting list for seniors to get into subsidized housing. If families could afford their housing, they could probably make ends meet otherwise. This is utterly nonsense. Please your donations of food etc are helpful but it is not the answer to lifting people our of impoverishment. THe average senior makes $1400 a month from social security but has to pay $6000 out of pocket expense a year not including premiums. How can poor seniors survive without your voices to the county and state leaders?
Savefauquiercounty2019 · January 29, 2021 at 5:48 pm
The NAACP should go after the policies with the Dept of Social Services and try and change them. They will not help get poor families water into their homes. They have ignored these basic essentials forever. It is time to change this and help families get funds to provide water and toileting into their homes. IT has never been acceptable to permit any family especially those with children to live at this level of poverty for any length of time. They normally tell professionals who report these conditions that families don't have to have running water in their home. How can we expect poor people to profess out of poverty without running water and facilities to toilet and shower. Stop this level of neglect. Everyone deserves these accomodations especially in the wake of germ warfares such as COVID. Please NAACP surveil the poor in Fauquier County. As St Vincent professed, use donations wisely. Lift the poor out of poverty. Make Americans first. Get more sudsidized housing and loans. It use to be farmers loans would help. The loan amount was always affordable. There are desperate people living in horrid conditions right in FC. Go to the state and bring about change in policies. If a family does not have running water, push to make it essential and provide the funds to them to make it happen. THank you and God Bless.
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