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From the National Office
|Greetings Friend,||April 2009|
FOOD ASSISTANCE LOOMS LARGE FOR 3 IGNATIAN VOLUNTEERS IN NO.VIRGINIA
“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible; nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.”
The poor are with us, just as Jesus said. They are manifest in increasing job loss, homelessness, hunger, physical and mental illness, lost purchasing power for the elderly - emerging explosively from the shadows in largely affluent Northern Virginia.
In this article you will meet 3 Ignatian volunteers who are working to provide food assistance through 3 distinct channels to the growing numbers of impoverished.
(There are over 30 other IVC Volunteers in Northern Virginia who serve the poor in other capacities.)
Meet Prunie Esguerra
Ignatian volunteer Prunie Esguerra serves at Food for Others, a community-based agency described by Executive Director Roxanne Rice as the largest emergency food assistance program in Northern Virginia. Situated in a warehouse in one of Fairfax County’s largest commercial areas, its complement of nine staff and several hundred volunteers distributed food packages to 15,700 families at its main site and to 32,400 families in daily deliveries by truck from 14 street corners in the Virginia suburbs last year. Approximately 1.7 million pounds of food were distributed. Additional distributions were made to an average of 27 churches, mosques and social agencies each month.
Prunie with Liz Reniart, Director of Operations
Food for Others, Fairfax, VA
The need has increased greatly in recent months – a growth industry, Ms. Rice notes – but, gratifyingly, donations of food, money and volunteer services have also grown.
Mrs. Esguerra, a native of the Philippines where she completed graduate studies in nutrition and worked as a nutritionist for the U.S. Agency for International Development, came to the U.S. with her family in 1986. She is a graduate of the Education for Parish Service program at Trinity University, Washington, D.C., and is retired from Educational Services, Inc. a sub-contractor with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. She joined IVC in April 2008 “looking to do something worthwhile”. She is doing just that.
At Food for Others, Mrs. Esguerra’s principal role is to maintain the database which tracks hours served by the many volunteers at the agency. The compilation is crucial to obtaining financial subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia. She also fills in as receptionist/interviewer for new clients, a role she particularly enjoys; indeed, while being interviewed for this article, she was asked to serve as interpreter for a Hispanic woman seeking first-time assistance. Mrs. Esguerra states her assignment has brought an intense awareness of deep need within a clearly well-to-do area.
Food for Others has been partnering with IVC virtually since our inception, and Executive Director Rice says Ignatian Volunteers are really counted upon because they understand the importance of the mission, and give reliable, skilled service.
The 2007-08 Annual Report (our Winter 09 newsletter) is now available online. Click here to read more.
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