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Manassas Food Assistance Center Desperate For Giving Season

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When vegetable supplies run low, administrators at SERVE say they're forced to substitute with less nutritious products, or just give less food to each family.
Jonathan Wilson
When vegetable supplies run low, administrators at SERVE say they're forced to substitute with less nutritious products, or just give less food to each family.

It's not quite the official holiday season, but a nonprofit food assistance program in Prince William County, Va., is desperate for local residents and businesses to get in the giving mood a little early.

The food distribution room at SERVE, the largest food assistance provider in Prince William County, is far from empty--until you start looking for items with real nutritional value.

Only a few cans of green beans and carrots sit on the shelves, and the shelf usually holding spinach is completely bare.

"It's still very sparse," Pugh says. "I think we probably have, in most of these vegetables, about a day's worth of supply."

Karen Horowitz, a community engagement specialist at SERVE, says she worries about the health of the poor families that rely on SERVE during the weeks between now and Thanksgiving.

That's the next time SERVE can count on large donations.

"Our families who are already at high risk of not getting the nutritional value of food that they need--this is just making their life that much harder," Horowitz says.

SERVE received 1.8 million pounds of food over the last fiscal year. Horowitz says that's actually twice as much as the year before.

But she says the economic climate means demand for assistance is still outpacing donations.

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