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In 1972, five churches in Sterling and Herndon came together with the idea of delivering collected food donations directly to the homes of those in need.

Members would store the food in their basement, and deliver it themselves within 48 hours to eliminate the necessity for families to have transportation to receive food staples. To carry out this plan, the group created the LINK Food Pantry and staged its first meeting on July 12, 1972, at Sterling Middle School.

In the meeting minutes, LINK Secretary Joyce Corn wrote, “I thank you all for taking the time to come to this meeting. Your interest and enthusiasm will make this dream a reality."

Forty years later, LINK is composed of 17 member churches in Herndon, Sterling, Chantilly and Potomac Falls, and has provided thousands of families with assistance. LINK clients request aid via phone, social services staff refer clients to us, and our volunteers also work with the public schools in Fairfax and Loudoun to assist children and their families. Each qualified family is given about a five-to-seven day supply of nonperishable food and a grocery certificate to purchase perishables.

In the past few years of this recession, the community has become more aware of the hunger issue and has responded with much needed food and monetary donations. LINK President Lisa Lombardozzi commented that “when donations lag behind, volunteers recruit neighbors, friends and co-workers to help restock the shelves."

Social networking has been a major factor in getting the community involved.

"When LINK gets low on food,” said Food Pantry Manager Bob Ashdown, “volunteers send out a message on Facebook and people share the message and respond to the need.”

Lombardozzi publically thanked all of LINK’s volunteers for giving their generosity and time.

“While it may seem that it doesn’t make a big difference,” she said, “I can assure you that it does!”

LINK asks the community to continue to contribute to organizations that need help in 2012. So many of our neighbors require assistance to ease the burdens they are facing. Even the smallest donation will make a difference to a family or individual in need.

The LINK board thanks all of the churches, businesses and civic organizations that help disseminate our program requirements through their networks, and the LINK mini-managers who take on the important tasks that keep LINK up and running.

The board also thanks the ever-vigilant volunteers who come every year to ensure the daily deliveries and annual holiday events are a huge success. They are each an important part of the Body of Christ.

Mark Gunderman, Sterling Park