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Big hearts and full stomachs

Ashby Ponds partners with Community Table of Loudoun to feed the hungry

Created date

November 20th, 2014
group of men packing lunches to help feed the hungry

“There’s always someone who could use your help,” says Nancy Eisenbise. “The trick is discovering the best way to provide that help.”

As a member of Leesburg Presbyterian Church, Nancy learned of a partnership among her church, 21 other local churches, and the Community Table of Loudoun (CTL) to provide food to people in need and increase awareness of food insecurity.

“It’s humbling to learn that despite living in Loudoun County, Va., one of the most affluent counties in the country, there are still people who go to bed at night hungry,” says Nancy. “I immediately knew that my neighbors at Ponds [an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va.] would be very happy to help CTL.”

Piece of a larger pie

“CTL is the result of a lot of work by a lot of people, all volunteer, all the time,” says Kurt Aschermann, a retired marketer and fundraiser for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, who conceived and spearheaded the CTL initiative. 

“Originally, we thought of a soup kitchen, but quickly, after much discussion with people of all kinds of faiths across the county, we resolved to provide something food-insecure people seldom get—a night out with their family in a restaurant atmosphere.”

Four times a year, the CTL provides an elegant sit-down dinner at three Loudoun County locations simultaneously: the Cascades Senior Center, Leesburg United Methodist Church, and the Carver Senior Center.

“We were looking for a way to support these efforts,” says Nancy. “That’s when it was suggested that we prepare healthy, take-home lunches for the dinner attendees to enjoy the following day.”

Leesburg Presbyterian Church supplied the food, and Nancy along with more than 20 of her neighbors spent a morning preparing more than 200 lunches.

“Many of us here at Ashby Ponds attend local churches involved with the CTL effort,” says Jim Peacock. “My wife Joan and I were involved with a similar project when we lived in North Carolina and were eager to help out here in our new Virginia community.”

Ashby Ponds community member Margaret Caudle also has experience feeding the hungry. 

“I was a long-time volunteer with Meals on Wheels,” she says. “I’m happy to help prepare these lunches for those who will benefit from a healthy meal.”

True efficiency

Setting up in the community’s arts and crafts room, Nancy directed her neighbors in an assembly-line-like production of the lunches. Each bag included a handmade peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, applesauce, a cookie, and a napkin.

“We have quite a system in place,” says Anne Johnson, who prepared the sandwiches alongside her husband David. 

“And it’s reminiscent of preparing school lunches,” says Catherine Gilbride.

Once the sandwiches were made, the other food items were placed in the bags and boxed up for delivery to the CTL. 

“Everyone at Ashby Ponds was supportive of our efforts,” says Nancy. “Food Services provided the gloves and wax paper we needed. We are grateful.”

“It’s wonderful to be a part of a community that puts such a high value on the needs of others,” says Roshan Chaddha, who along with his wife Mary Ellen, helped bag the lunches. “Any time Nancy comes around and asks for my help, it’s always for a good cause, and I am always happy to answer with a yes!”