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The FISH Mission

  • To help Herndon and Reston residents cope with short-term financial crises by providing Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help.

  • We help stabilize lives by preventing an eviction, keeping utilities from being turned off, and helping to finance immediate medical needs.

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Elliot Wicks
President, Board of Directors


Mary Saunders

Executive Director

Season's Greetings & Thanks!


The holiday season is upon us, and most of us are looking forward to sharing the joy of this time of the year with our friends and families. At the same time, we need to remember that there are many people in our community who are struggling, who often lack resources to ensure that they have adequate housing and funds to pay for utilities and provide nutritious food for their families. They live precarious lives. They deserve our attention and support.


Our mission at FISH is to help such people by providing short-term financial assistance to meet temporary crises. That is a task that we carry on throughout the year. In the winter holiday season we also provide food assistance and toys to families that have been identified as being in need.


The role that FISH plays in the community would not be possible without the generous financial support of individuals, religious institutions, corporations, and foundations in our area.  We also want to express our gratitude to the many volunteers who work at the Bargain Loft and others who staff our assistance efforts. We are also grateful for the funding that we have received from Fairfax County. Thanks to all who support our activities.


Happy Holidays!

Elliot K. Wicks


Mary Saunders

Executive Director

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Food Insecurity

According to the Fairfax County Food Council, nearly 75,000 county residents are food insecure, with nearly 60,000 children qualifying for free and reduced-price meals in Fairfax County Public Schools. Many of these residents and children live in the Herndon-Reston community. The 60,000 figure might not include all who qualify, because their parents or guardians may not have applied for the assistance. This is due primarily to lack of awareness of the program and application process, a lack of trust in the system, a concern for privacy, or a language barrier. 


Food insecurity can have long-lasting effects on children, affecting their memory, social and learning skills, and energy levels. Another factor is the stress students feel, knowing their families can’t afford the food needed to feed them.


Food insecurity is not just being hungry; it is an economic condition that is exacerbated by recent high inflation and job losses and employment reductions due to Covid. Someone who is food insecure doesn’t have the means to access enough nutritious food on a regular basis. 


For the past year, with funding from a Fairfax County Food Assistance Program grant and the help of social workers/parent liaisons from the local Reston and Herndon elementary schools and from other human service organizations, FISH has been providing food insecure families with $100 to $150 in Safeway or Giant grocery gift cards. Additionally, through our primary Emergency Assistance program, we respond to requests for rent, utilities, medical prescriptions and other critical needs bills, so that families in need don’t have to choose between food or medicines or housing. If you would like to help support our neighbors in crises, please consider donating to FISH to help us continue our vital programming. Thank you in advance for your support!

Elliot Wicks,
President, Board of Directors


Mary Saunders,
Executive Director

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