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FISH Executive Director Mary Saunders and Board Vice

President Janet Hyman Featured on InclusiviTEA Podcast

The Elden Street Tea Shop selected HRFISH as the first nonprofit to be part of its new InclusiviTEA program. The InclusiviTEA mission is to promote “Diversity, Acceptance, Community.” The podcast describes the program and showcases FISH's mission in the Herndon-Reston community (click here to listen).

We recognize and honor people as "Starfish" who have made outstanding contributions to FISH and the Bargain Loft. For 2020, we honored the following individuals:


BARGAIN LOFT STARFISH                                                                                                                                  

Susan Kelly                                                                                                                                      

  • Susan Kelly started volunteering for Herndon-Reston FISH’s Bargain Loft in 2016.

  • She focuses mostly on jewelry. She supplements her extensive knowledge about jewelry with research conducted online and by visiting jewelers for appraisals, which she uses to price jewelry for resale at the Bargain Loft.

  • Susan takes the time to clean each piece thoroughly before pricing it and adding it to the beautiful jewelry displays in the store.

  • Her displays of jewelry differentiate the Bargain Loft from its peer thrift shops, and they are often complimented and mentioned as a draw that brings customers returning regularly to the Bargain Loft.

Beth Bittenbender

  • Beth began volunteering at the Bargain Loft in 2017.

  • She started out by working with the women’s clothing donated to the store and then moved into working with jewelry.

  • Beth also started purchasing pieces of jewelry from the Bargain Loft, fashioning them into sought-after festive trees, and then donating those works of jeweled art back to the Bargain Loft, where they command large prices at the store. In addition, she donates a tree to the FISH annual auction.

The Bargain Loft management appreciate Susan and Beth’s contributions to the store and their friendly presence in the volunteer corps.


Bonnie Whyte

  • Bonnie first knew Herndon-Reston FISH through her mother, who used to arrange rides for medical appointments for years in the early days of FISH. 

  • In 1992, community pillars Emory and Priscilla Rucker urged Bonnie to consider becoming a phone assistance volunteer for FISH, where she has served our community with dedication and compassion.

  • Bonnie notes that there have been many changes the past 28 years—for example, not as much contact with the clients as in the earlier days, which she misses.  But now, she says, the stakes are so much higher and the needs are so much greater and our service is so much more essential.

Judy Newman

  • Judy first became acquainted with Herndon-Reston FISH through a water aerobics class eight years ago.  When one of her classmates discovered that Judy was a nurse, she urged her to join FISH as a telephone assistance volunteer because Judy “would know how to answer” the needs of our clients.

  • Judy also noted the many changes since those days when there were no manuals and no directions.  She is so grateful to Diane Mandel who trained and supported her and gave her confidence.  Now Judy does the scheduling for the assistance volunteers as well as working on cases, and she has given invaluable insights to the Assistance Committee and the Board.

  • Like Bonnie, Judy sometimes misses the days of talking directly to the clients, but she would encourage any new AV that the help FISH gives is vital to our clients with so few resources, and that’s what keeps her going.

Diane Mandel

  • Diane has worn many hats at Herndon-Reston FISH since she retired as a physical therapist and began volunteering at FISH in 2011:  telephone assistance volunteer, AV trainer, medical appointment driver, scheduler, and Assistance Committee, but her first love is working on the cases of real people with real needs.  

  • Diane’s passion is “getting people the help they need…I wish everyone could volunteer at FISH

FISH Annual Food and Toy Assistance, 2020


FISH’s  primary mission is to provide emergency financial assistance to help people meet short-term financial crises, such as aiding with rent payments to prevent evictions and helping to pay utility bills to avoid shut-offs. But every year at Christmas time, we take on another major project – providing gifts of food and toys to low-income families. This is a major effort that helps to make the holiday season a bit happier for needy families in the Herndon and Reston area. In addition, our holiday program reinforces our main mission because providing toys and food for the holidays relieves our client families of a financial burden and thus helps avoid financial crises. We traditionally provide non-perishable foods and gifts for children, but the problems of distributing physical items during the coronavirus pandemic made this approach unworkable in 2020 because of the pandemic. So, instead, we provided gift cards that families could use to purchase food and toys for their children.

Scenes from 2019 Holiday Giving that Provided Food Assistance and Children's Gifts to Needy Families in Herndon and Reston
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FISH Recognized by Fairfax County for Service to the Community

At the FISH Fling Gala on May 18, Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust presented FISH President Robert Reed with a Resolution of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors congratulating FISH for "50 years of exceptional, noteworthy and compassionate support to those in need."


Activities of the Holiday Season


Amazing food donations ready to make holidays bright for local families!

During the 2019 Holiday Season, FISH helped needy families by distributing donated food and Christmas gifts for children. In total we served more than 1200 individuals and 313 households.Some of the people who helped collect the food and gifts are pictured below. Thanks to all who donated and to the volunteers who helped distribute the items.


The toys for children included many wonderful books.

Thanks to Armstrong Elementary School

Thanks to the Armstrong Elementary SCA leaders and their community for awesome efforts in food collections! 

FISH Thanks Dominion Energy

On November 13, 2018, Dominion Energy donated backpacks stuffed with new school supplies to FISH for Holiday distribution.  The picture to the left is their committee posing with the donations. Thank You to Dominion Energy.

Thanks to CDW from FISH

CDW Volunteers help to load food donated by CDW for the FISH Holiday distribution. Thanks to CDW from FISH.

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FISH Thanks SallieMae

SallieMae Volunteers load food donated by SallieMae for the FISH Holiday distribution. Thank you to SallieMae.

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Thanks to Scouts from FISH

FISH extends thanks to the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts for supporting FISH for Food Holiday collections. Several troops collected food out in the Reston neighborhoods and then delivered and sorted it at the United Christian Parish Church.

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Thanks to the Swim & Dive Teams from South Lakes and Herndon High Schools

They collected cans of tuna for FISH Holiday programs on Friday night, November 30th. 

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FISH Thanks Students of Terraset Elementary School

These students organized food donations from Terraset Elementary School in Reston. They collected 1000 food items for the Holiday Program of FISH. Students from Terraset have collected food for 20 years for this program!

FISH participated in the CFC Giving Campaign, December 12, 2018 at U.S. Geological Survey

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FISH Thanks Students of Armstrong Elementary School

Students collected approximately 24 boxes of food for the FISH.

FISH Thanks Holder Construction in Partnership with the United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA)

For donating 150 string bags full of healthy after-school snacks! The bags will be provided to kids receiving holiday assistance from FISH!

FISH thanks Fairfax County Police Motorcycle division for awesome toys, bikes, and books for holiday families in need!
FISH appreciates Khalsa Integrated Medicine for their holiday food donations. Be well!