Emergency Financial Assistance
Herndon-Reston FISH has assisted local residents in short-term crises since 1969. FISH provides Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help by responding to emergency requests for rent, utilities, medical prescriptions, and other critical needs to stop destabilizing events..
Approximately 75% of FISH clients have incomes below the federal poverty level. They often work multiple low-paying jobs and live paycheck to paycheck. FISH helps those neighbors when they are in crisis. We work closely with social workers from Fairfax County, local schools, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations.
Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, all FISH traditional assistance programs helped over 2,300 people in all demographics but predominately in very low-income levels. Over $273,000 was distributed. During the same period, our many volunteers provided about 13,000 hours of service to FISH---the equivalent of contributing approximately $400,000 using the Independent Sector’s “Virginia Value of Each Volunteer Hour” index.
During the current economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, FISH has taken on additional responsibilities to provide financial assistance for people in need. For a second year, we were one of 21 community-based agencies chosen by Fairfax County to distribute funds from the major federal programs funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and from the Emergency Rental Assistance programs funded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have assisted Fairfax County in distributing over $7.6 million of this funding to our neighbors in economic distress. During this fiscal year alone, we distributed almost $4.7 million of federal funds to qualifying families and individuals.
Financial details are included in the 2021-22 Annual Report here.
For information about how to get assistance, click here.)
The FISH Emergency Assistance Program accepts referrals from our partners at Fairfax County on all week days except holidays. If you need emergency financial assistance and are a resident of Herndon or Reston, please call 703 222-0880 to begin the process or click here. County social workers will communicate your needs to FISH.
The Bargain Loft
The Bargain Loft is a thrift store operated by Herndon-Reston FISH. Serving local residents since 1981, it is staffed by volunteers and offers affordable shopping. The Bargain Loft accepts donations of good quality, saleable items. We provide donors with receipts for tax purposes. For a list of the items we accept and sell, click HERE.
Holiday Food & Gift Assistance
FISH offers Holiday assistance to households with very low incomes. We again in December 2022 resumed providing non-perishable foods and gifts for children on an in-person basis, after having to provide just gift cards last year because of the problems of distributing physical items during the coronavirus pandemic. To help us this year, click HERE.
Financial Literacy Training
Herndon-Reston FISH has suspended the financial literacy classes that we previously offered to help clients who need assistance in basic budgeting and financial management. In their place, we encourage use of on-line training.
We recommend the Money Smart curriculum, which covers basic financial topics
Another on-line class that you may find helpful is Ally Wallet Wise.