The Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate, the largest independent residential real estate company in the United States, celebrated its annual Community Service Day on June 4.
Thousands of Long & Foster agents and employees from across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast rolled up their sleeves and took their talents into local neighborhoods to give something back to the many communities the company serves. The teams worked on-site at parks, schools, shelters, homes and day care centers, helping local organizations with spring cleaning efforts and other much-needed improvements.
Employees at Long & Foster’s Chantilly headquarters volunteered for Community Service Day by collecting and packing food items for children in need for the You Feed Others program. This is the fourth year the company has supported the program, which aims to feed school-aged children in Fairfax County – those who typically qualify for free and reduced-price meals – when school is not in session.
UFO is a program founded by a Centreville-area teacher who noticed many school-aged children were struggling to stay focused when they were hungry. These students were coming to school without having eaten on a regular basis and she noticed they were often more focused on where their next meal would come from than academics. With the help of Centreville United Methodist Church, the UFO program began distributing backpack kits to qualifying children that contain food to feed them throughout the weekend or a period when school is not in session.
According to the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board, 47,874 students in Fairfax County Public Schools – or 26.79 percent – were eligible for free and reduced price lunch for the 2012-2013 school year. And although these students are ensured breakfast and lunch at school each weekday, those may be the only hot, nutritious meals some students’ families can afford.
The Chantilly-based Long & Foster employees gathered together in the building to create a large assembly line where they placed two breakfast, lunch and dinner items, two snack items and a juice box into bags for the weekend food kits. Hundreds of kits were created that will help feed children at Pine Spring Elementary School in Falls Church, Va. Pine Spring Principal Armando Peri addressed the volunteers, thanking them for their contributions and work. He said the kits make a big difference in the lives of the children who receive them.
“Our school counselor has one of the best jobs because she gets to hand the kids these bags,” Peri said. “Now those kids know that Saturday and Sunday they have something to eat. We make sure that those kids walk away with a breakfast, a lunch and a snack. You should see the kids light up as they shove them in their backpacks. You help me with what you’re doing today, so you get to share some of the joy that I get 260 days a year.”
“This annual event, now in its 17th year, is a vitally important part of Long & Foster’s culture,” says P. Wesley Foster Jr., chairman and CEO of The Long & Foster Companies. “Our sales associates and employees gain a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction by contributing their time and effort to the local communities in which we live and work. At a time when many charities and local organizations have a great need for an extra set of hands in getting the job done, we are honored to have the opportunity to assist them.”
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