Dulles South Soup Kitchen has a new home.
Founder Devina Mahapatra was joined by supporters and county leaders on Thursday to celebrate the nonprofit’s opening in a new space at the Shoppes at Ryan Park in Ashburn.
The organization was launched in late 2020 to augment the county’s charitable food distribution efforts during the height of the pandemic. It provided 20,000 prepared meals in its first year.
The new location, in the former space The Pavilion at BeanTree, will allow the nonprofit to do even more.
“We are just excited about this new place as we are able to scale to meet community demand,” Mahapatra said.
“Hunger in Loudoun County is manifesting itself in many ways we never expected. These are people who are constantly deciding if it’s going to be rent or is it going to be milk? Will it be utilities or prescription drugs? This is what hunger looks like. He is camouflaged. You can’t see it,” she said.
She thanked supporters who donated and volunteered.
“Thanks to the support of people like you…we have been able to serve people. We were able to serve people with love, warmth and dignity,” Mahapatra said.
County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall said dignity was an important ingredient in Loudoun’s support for people who are food insecure.
“What we discovered during the pandemic was how many people were living paycheck to paycheck,” Randall said, noting that Loudoun Hunger Relief has seen its clientele grow by more than 800 people a week. . “That’s an incredible number when you think about Loudoun County.”
“People don’t want to come to a food kitchen. Most people in Loudoun County work. Sometimes they take two or three jobs and do their best,” Randall said. “So if they come to get food from a pantry or a soup kitchen, it’s because they have to. They have to feed their family. For us, it’s so important to make sure they do it with dignity.