A gift from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation that will help Loudoun Hunger Relief launch its mobile food pantry has the foundation’s leaders asking others to also give what they can this season.
The $50,000 grant will serve as seed money for Loudoun Hunger Relief to buy a refrigerated truck that will deliver groceries to families in need throughout the county. Jennifer Montgomery, the food pantry’s executive director, said the vision is to bring the truck—almost like a mini grocery store on wheels—to neighborhoods with high-needs populations and invite folks to take what they need.
She said it’s tough for the organization to help people who don’t live near its Leesburg food pantry. “This is just another way we can get food into the hands of people who need it,” she said.
LHR is asking others to consider supporting the mobile food pantry with their year-end giving. About $135,000 more is needed to purchase and outfit the truck.
Hamilton Lambert, executive director of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, said the foundation supports LHR because it wants to use its resources to improve the delivery of human services in Loudoun. “Loudoun Hunger Relief’s mobile pantry will do just that—providing food, the most basic of human needs, to people where they are.”
Lambert is encouraging others to give what they can, including their time and talents. “Share your personal gifts… serve on a board, serve as kind of a docent, give advice,” said Lambert.
Lynn Tadlock, the foundation’s deputy executive director of giving, said that Lambert practices what he preaches. He’s known to sit down with nonprofit leaders to offer financial and management guidance. In the foundation’s early years, he used his expertise as the county executive for Fairfax County to grow the foundation from $16 million in 1987 to almost a quarter billion dollars today by gradually selling Moore’s land. That often meant being patient to wait several years for a healthy real estate market. “We’re the most patient group you’ll ever see, but it’s paid off,” he said. “We’ve been able to help a lot of people and a lot of groups and [the foundation] continues to grow.”
Lambert said he promised Moore, a radiology doctor and philanthropist, he would do his part to build a foundation that would last 200 years or more. Before Moore died in 1991, he asked that his wealth be used to improve educational opportunities, especially for the underprivileged. Moore said he wanted to “give people a leg up, not a hand out.”
“That’s the key,” Lambert said. “We invest in organizations and people who are making big impacts.”
The foundation has given away more than $20 million in Loudoun County in the past 27 years.
Tadlock noted that Loudoun residents donate less than 2 percent of their income to charity, a third less than the national average. Part of the nonprofit community’s mission needs to be bringing Loudouners together—from the eastern end to the western end—to embrace a common goal of improving the lives of their neighbors, she said.
“People give because it comes from their heart and their personal being, and communities need to tap into that,” Tadlock said. “Loudoun’s got to develop its sense of heart.”
Help get Loudoun Hunger Relief’s mobile food pantry rolling by donating at loudounhunger.org.