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.

Mary Saunders 
Executive Director

Someone We Helped

Alexander, a man in his early twenties, unexpectedly had to take custody of his sister’s three young children, all under eight years of age. Along with three other agencies, FISH provided partial payment of the rent so that Alex and his nieces and nephew could stay together.

A Message from the
President & Executive Director


The vision that became Herndon-Reston FISH began in 1969 when neighbors united to help after a fire destroyed a local home. Working with Fairfax County Health and Human Services, FISH is committed to helping local residents through short-term crises.

As funding for FISH has increased, the process to help low-income families cope with financial crises by paying rent, utilities, and critical medical services has been carefully refined. FISH’s rapid payments to avoid evictions and utility cutoffs is a centerpiece of their assistance program. FISH relies on trained volunteers to coordinate and assure that appropriate awards are made and distributed timely. 


In 2015, the Herndon Farmers Market welcomed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) managed by FISH. Each year 35 households receive SNAP benefits to spend on healthy locally grown and produced food.


The Bargain Loft Thrift Shop, a program of Herndon-Reston FISH, opened on Elden Street, Herndon in 1974. The Bargain Loft is now located at 336 Victory Drive, Herndon. Some of the volunteers who were a vital part of the organization’s early growth still volunteer their time at the store. In December each year, the store transforms into a winter wonderland of holiday necessities. The sale of good quality used items is a significant source of funds that help those in need. Donations to The Bargain Loft are also always appreciated.


Early on FISH established food distributions at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Today this program is a holiday distribution of food and toys through local organizations, businesses, schools, and churches. Between 1,200 and 1,600 individuals benefit from the holiday program each year.


Operated as a wholly volunteer organization for 40-plus years, the need for full-time management became critical with an increased assistance budget and associated grant contract obligations. FISH now has a full-time Executive Director and four part-time employees who manage programs and The Bargain Loft; however, the organization still relies on volunteers and always welcomes more. Herndon-Reston FISH recently announced Mary Saunders, a longtime Reston resident, as its new executive director. Mary is excited to lead the organization, with the help of devoted volunteers focused on the mission of better serving our community.


Over the years, FISH has experienced significant growth, including integration with County and local assistance programs. In 2016, FISH joined the Connections for Hope Partnership, a collaboration of ten local organizations that make it possible to efficiently and effectively provide essential services to residents in need. In fiscal year 2019, alone, FISH programs helped nearly 2,400 individuals (729 households).


The Herndon-Reston FISH Board of Directors, staff and volunteers eagerly look forward to helping neighbors for the next 50 years.

Robert Reed

President, Board of Directors 

Mary C. Saunders

Executive Director

Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc.

Member Greater Reston & Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce

Copyright Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc. 

1141 Elden Street, Suite 200

Herndon, VA 20170

571 267-2977

Providing Herndon & Reston Residents with Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help Since 1969

Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc., is a 501(c)3 organization