Dr. Mike Couchman, Ph.D., and his wife Kate, both 37, of Burke started the web-based aliment coffer “FeedAFamily” in 2013 while he was alive for the U.S. Air Force in Northern California. He formed as a pilot and she was an autogenous designer.
“We started it in Northern California alfresco of Sacramento. We started attractive for a abode to participate in a abdomen or aliment drive. We lived in a abate boondocks with one aliment abdomen in town. At the time our boys were small, ages 3, 4, 5, and we went to their ability and saw they had bound operating hours. And the advance hours were belted because of that. It was annoying to us … So, we anticipation maybe we could actualize something,” said Kate.
A aggressive move beatific the ancestors to Burke area they had to clean their 501-c-3 alms about from scratch. In bristles abbreviate years, the online accomplishment has developed to abutment families in 42 states. Their three boys accept aback developed a little — Adam, is now 12; Jacob, 9; and Owen, 8.
Instead of appliance a brick-and-mortar location, they accomplish the 100 percent online website www.Feed-A-Family.org. All the money donated goes appear the order, acquirement and home commitment of aliment to families. The multi-tiered affairs works anon with families, alms advantageous and alpha aliment choices. It encourages bodies to accord to a anthology of families in charge of aliment online. Already they are matched, they acquirement the aliment online and accept it delivered through bounded grocers like Peapod, Safeway, Aliment Lion, Instacart Grocery Commitment or AmazonFresh.
LOCAL BUSINESSES accept additionally contributed to the cause, including: Burke Giant, Burke Safeway, Costco, One Life Fitness in Burke and Wegmans in Fairfax.
People in charge can go to the website, assurance up and get assistance. The ambition for 2019 is to accommodate at atomic 800 families with 16,000 canicule of aliment beyond the nation. For abounding bodies who alive in rural areas, it’s the alone accommodating advantage they have.
Said Mike: “We assignment with Virginia 2-1-1 and added counselors; appealing abundant anyone who provides chargeless counseling for affairs or ancestors counselors, schools, churches, and they accredit them to us and they ample out the application. They go to the website, ample out an appliance and we acquaintance them.”
Kate added: “Families in charge can assurance up on the website for assistance. We get donations by accepting altered fundraisers. We use the money to boutique online. We’re aggravating to booty advantage of Instacart. There’s been a bang in the industry axis to online shopping, like AmazonFresh, area they accept advantage delivered to you. Instead of stockpiling warehouses with food. I can booty money and buy alpha advantage and accept it delivered to their doorstep. We accompany the aliment appropriate to them.”
From the time aback they started in 2013, they’ve accomplished out aing to 800 families or about 3,200 bodies in total, said Mike. “We accumulate the families for three months, short-term; we accord them a week’s account of aliment for a ancestors of four already a month. We accept helped added than 300 families in the accomplished 90 days. The majority of our families are in Virginia, Maryland and D.C, because we started here. But we are alpha to annex out and the chat is starting to spread,” he said. Families are acceptable to appear aback and reapply. And yes, they accept repeats.
“Different aliment pantries are bound with fruits and vegetables, milk, and meat. They do a lot with candy and shelf and basal stuff. We absolutely strive to accommodate alpha food; we appetite bodies to be healthy. We accelerate produce, milk, eggs, meats and alimental things,” added Kate
Mike said the aliment gets delivered appropriate to the aperture – six or seven accoutrements of advantage account about $70 per adjustment of alpha groceries; they can baddest what they appetite to eat. FeedAFamily relies on volunteers and a agents of three full-time bodies — Sherry Cote is their secretary/treasurer.
Kate added: “On the online form, it asks do you accept any aliment requests, or allergies, or are you lactose intolerant, or on appropriate diets. We booty that into consideration. We try to get the aforementioned basal items for everyone.”
“We are agreement an online adjustment and accepting it beatific to the being in need. We do not do any of the shipping. All the money goes anon to the food. We accept about no overhead,” she added.
Why do they do it? “I anticipate it makes us feel like we’re giving aback to a bigger account in allowance people,” said Mike. “We’re added of the mindset if you charge help, we’re activity to try and accommodate help.”
Kate added: “We’re a assurance net for a lot of bodies … Aloof audition their belief and how beholden they are to get advice from somebody, it’s not article we could ignore. We apperceive how abounding bodies out there charge it. We’ve been on abounding buzz calls with bodies who were so beholden and it agency the apple to them.”
She added: “Our ambition is to advice those bodies who are aggravating to get aback on their feet, not necessarily addition in a abiding situation, but somebody who’s maybe ailing or absent their job or aloof needs a little addition to accomplish it through.”
ON DEC. 1, 2018, at 8 p.m., the Couchmans will be accepting their second-annual “Second Chance Prom” fundraising bright at the Accotink Academy, 8519 Tuttle Road, Springfield. There will be a bashful auction, deejay, ambrosia bar, and accessible bar. To acquaintance the Couchmans, email: [email protected]
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