Monthly Archives: May 2016

Celebrating with our 2015 Grant Recipients

2015 Grant Recipients of The Giving Circle of HOPE

2015 Grant Recipients of The Giving Circle of HOPE

The evening of Friday, May 13 reminded us of the needs in our community and the direct impact of what The Giving Circle of HOPE (GCH) does. Over 50 members of the GCH and their guests circulated in a “speed dating style” with the 2015 Grant Recipients at the Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.


The evening began with social time to meet new people and catch up with old friends


Such opportunities to continue strengthening our ties are always welcome!


2016 Membership Chair and 2015 Grants Chair

Cyndi Shananhan, 2015 Grants Chair, served as Mistress of Ceremonies. She reminded us of the grants process that brought us altogether and thanked those who played a part in its success. Donna Whitaker and Sheila Morris, Grants Co-Chairs for 2016, hinted at what’s to come this year. Jean Wyman, Membership Chair, encouraged those present to sign up with their $415 annual contribution to become a Voting Member to help select the 2016 Grant Recipients.

granteetalkCyndi outlined how the rest of the evening would go. There were 9 tables with 8 seats per table. Each 2015 Grant Recipient organization (and in some cases a client served by that grant) had been invited to attend, sit at their assigned table, and provide a short presentation about their grant, what it meant to their organization and clients, and answer any questions.

granteetableGCH members and guests stayed at a table for about 10 minutes until the bell sounded and we were off to the next table.

GCH’s 2015 Grant Recipients and the projects or capacity building efforts funded:

tellmemoreWe heard successes, challenges and specifics about how the services funded by GCH grants have affected individuals directly and the organizations that serve them.



It is difficult to describe precisely the feelings and thoughts that run through one’s head at the end of such an evening. Mostly, I would have to quote Dr. Seuss To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.

And that feels great!

“As we fill our bowls, let us remember those that are empty.”

Girls holding bowls.The ninth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on April 8 was hosted by The Giving Circle of HOPE. The purpose of Empty Bowls to help fight hunger and food insecurity in our community.

Family eating.For a small donation, guests receive a simple supper of soup, bread, cake and a beverage and a handmade ceramic bowl as a reminder that there are those in the community who have empty bowls.

Hold pottery.Empty Bowls is a grassroots program designed to help end hunger in the U.S. and worldwide. It was developed by John Hartom, a Michigan art teacher who came up with the project idea in 1990-1991 when he joined a community drive to raise charitable funds.


The funds raised through The Giving Circle of HOPE’s Empty Bowls fundraiser benefit Food for Others, one of our nonprofit partners and the largest distributor in Northern Virginia of free food directly to those facing hunger and food emergencies.

For the April 8 fundraiser, almost $39,000 was raised in combined direct and in-kind contributions. Over 500 people attended and almost 700 pottery pieces were donated.

This event would not be possible without the generosity of a large cast of donors and sponsors, volunteers, the event Co-Chairs and team.  Thank you!

Woman stirring soup.

Volunteers stirred soup.

Men pouring soup.

Volunteers poured soup.

Serving cake.

Donors and sponsors cut cake.

Empty Bowls Co-chairs.

Empty Bowls 2016 Co-Chairs confer.

Hunger and poverty in Fairfax County

  • 1 of 6 people in Fairfax County is food insecure. During any given month, they will be out of money and food, and will be forced to miss meals or seek assistance.
  • 64,600 (almost 6%) Fairfax County residents live below the federal poverty threshold.
  • More than 52,000 people living within 45 minutes of your house live in poverty.
  • 1 in 20 senior citizens in Fairfax County live in poverty, which leads them to choose between food, medicine, and utilities.

Empty Bowls for 2016 is over, but food insecurity is year-round. What you can do now?


Read about the causes and solutions for food insecurity at Feeding America and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.


Support and advocate for programs and legislation that help families afford food. These include a higher minimum wage, affordable quality health care, deferral nutrition programs, and family friendly tax laws.


Donate food, time and money to support local food programs.

Serving bread.