ALEXANDRIA, Va. – As the holiday season gets under full swing and inflation continues to rise, many residents across the DMV are dealing with food insecurity and homelessness, so to help, non-profits, such as Built to Serve based in Northern Virginia, are doing what they can to provide healthy foods those in need.
The organization’s free food distribution got more than a dozen cars to line up along Colvin Street in Alexandria Saturday morning.
The non-profit led by President and executive director,Nikki O’Dell made it possible to hand out brown bags full of what she said, are healthy food items.
“I struggle just thinking about how so many people don’t get an opportunity to have simple basic necessities in life,” said O’ Dell.
The small organization has only been in place since May of 2020, but already, it has served more than 400 families and distributed over 1100 meals across the DMV.
“Times are tight and it’s not about any bad choices it’s not about making bad decisions it’s about life’s circumstances,” O’Dell went on to say.
Built to Serve runs on the mission, to Connect Communities to Opportunities and Resources with Equity —or simply C.O.R.E.
“Understand that you might not be in a boat right now but that boat can come your way any day,” O’Dell said.
“You can change from a yacht to a sailboat to a raft to floating in the water at any given time so there should be no judgement.”
Brian Foster is a first time volunteer with Built to Serve and even brought along his six-year-old son, Ian.
“I could remember a time where I was living check to check paying bills and only having $20, $30 left to last for a month,” said Foster. “So I mean, I know that feeling well but I am just so fortunate to have a job where I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
The non-profit’s mission isn’t to only feed those in need but to also focus some of their efforts on area youth who may need some direction and guidance in life.
“We have some amazing programs coming up and one of them is to engage teenagers by having them put all their phones away and creating curated events for them to socialize,” explained O’Dell.
“They way they can experience what it’s like to go out to a public restaurant and to go out on public transportation and how to behave.”