One out of five students in Fairfax County Public Schools reported going hungry due to a lack of food at home in the previous 30 days and almost 50,000 students are eligible for subsidized meals according to the Virginia Department of Education.
March is National Nutrition Month but at Alternative House nutrition is a focus all year round.  To help young people get the nutrition they need, we provide food to young people in all of our programs.  That may be obvious when you think about a program like our Emergency Shelter for Teenagers but it's just as important in our Community Based Programs.  At the Culmore Teen Center and three Safe Youth Projects after-school snacks and evening meals help young people succeed.  In addition, when the weekend approaches and these same students won't be receiving free or reduced price meals at school, we send food care packages home. 
This is especially important for our young people who are living in poverty. Studies show that young people with limited access to food are more vulnerable to health problems such as asthma and depression. Being hungry or even just constantly worried about whether you will have enough food also makes it hard to concentrate and do well in school.   
In addition to providing food and making sure none of the young people in our programs are hungry, we also work to help young people make healthy food choices. We offer workshops, take field trips to the grocery store, and have cooking demonstrations so young people know how to make smart choices.
Please consider learning more about child hunger and how our programs are addressing this issue by joining us at an Open Door Information Session. Together, we can spread awareness and make sure all of our young people have nutritious food.
  -- Judith Dittman

Did You Know?
  • In 2013, the District of Columbia (31%) had the highest rate of children in households without consistent access to food.
  • In Fairfax County, ranked 2nd nationally for highest median household income, 12 percent of children under the age of 18 (30,930 out of 258,326 children) are food insecure.
Gundersen, C., A. Satoh, A. Dewey, M. Kato & E. Engelhard. Map the Meal Gap 2015: Food Insecurity and Child Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level. Feeding 
America, 2015.
News From Our Programs
at Culmore, Springfield & Annandale
  • Children attended Field Day at a park and enjoyed soccer, a treasure hunt, balanced egg walk and more. 
  • Children will be learning how to use a sewing machine to make scarves this month.

Program needs: Arts & crafts supplies; locking filing cabinet
at Culmore
  • Teens enjoyed a pizza party and celebrated birthdays for the month.
  • Teens participated in self-esteem building activities where they shared personal stories and feelings with each other.
Program needs: 
Arts & crafts supplies; copy paper
at Springfield & Culmore
  • Our Family Resource Centers are busy kicking off a new program on Monday evenings called International Cultural Exchanges, where members of the community can discuss and learn about other cultures. 
Program needs: Letter size envelopes; copy paper
near Tysons
  • This month, teens will be watching a live show about environmental awareness.
Program needs: Twin size comforters; handsoap pumps & refills; copy paper
at Fairfax County
  • Our young mothers will be participating in a series on financial literacy where they will learn about banking, borrowing, credit, and budgeting.
Program needs: Size 5 & 6 diapers; 3 new vacuums, copy paper
at Fairfax County
  • The young people at HYI are participating in a program called "Street Law" which educates our young people about law and their legal rights. 
Program needs: Twin beds with box spring and frame; new twin bedsheet sets

Sarah's Story
Last year, our Annandale Safe Youth Project received a call from "Sarah," a single mother of two children who were enrolled in the program. She explained through tears that she could not pick up her kids from the program that evening.  Sarah had to sell her car that day because she recently lost her job and was struggling to make ends meet.
Our staff took immediate action. Every evening, they packed extra food for Sarah's children before driving them home. They also referred Sarah to our Family Resource Center where she received help with applying for jobs and interviewing.  As a result, she was soon hired at a local restaurant and was able to purchase a car a few months later.
"Alternative House was there for my family when I could not do it alone," she said. "They helped us survive."  

Sarah's children still attend the Annandale Safe Youth Project where they get help with homework and see their friends after school.
Sarah and her children's situation is sadly not uncommon. Last year at our Community Based programs alone, our staff distributed food to more than 6,000 at-risk and homeless young people and families.  At our residential programs, our community and local partners make it possible for us to provide food at no charge to our homeless unaccompanied high school students and young mothers.
Food donations are consistently in high demand at all of our programs, and we appreciate all of the food donated by members of our community like you.
Our regularly-scheduled donors make all the difference!

Community Based Services
Food for Others
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Annandale
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Bailey's Crossroads
V&F Office Supplies, Bill Baggot
Optimist Club
Panera Bread, Falls Church

Emergency Shelter for Teenagers 

Tysons Corner Rotary Club
Carlos Estin
Amee Vermilye
St. Francis Episcopal Church
Vienna Inn
Fairfax Community Church
Philip Jaffa
GFWC Women's Club 
Drink More Water
Starbucks Coffee Company
Temple Rodef Shalom
Vale United Methodist Church
Maria Jackson
Bob Long
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild
Auntie Anne's Pretzels

Assisting Young Mothers
Lewinsville Presbyterian Church

Homeless Youth Initiative
St. Stephen's United Methodist Church

Tuesday, April 12th - 
Join us for one hour at our Open Door Information Session, held on the second
Tuesday of every month at 10am3pm and 6pm.

  • Meet our Executive Director
  • Tour our Emergency Shelter for Teenagers
  • Learn about issues faced by at-risk and homeless youth
  • Find out more about our programs

*Event is informational; we will not ask for donations.


For questions please contact or 703-506-9191 ext. 106.

We gladly accept new and gently used items.
There are many ways to support Alternative House.
We are always looking for a variety of volunteers.

Click on logo to review 4 star (highest) rating
Catalog for Philanthropy

 Like us on Facebook        Follow us on Twitter


PO Box 694, Dunn Loring, VA 22027    703.506.9191     1.800.SAY.TEEN



Alternative House | P.O. Box 694 | Dunn Loring | VA | 22027