Addressing Hunger in Northern Virginia: An Interview with Navara Cannon of NVFS

Northern Virginia is feeling the pinch of inflation, with the high cost of food putting immense pressure on families living on tight budgets. This strain is especially significant for senior citizens and families with young children. In these trying times, the Hunger Resource Center (HRC) at Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) stands ready to help. We recently sat down with Navara Cannon, NVFS Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager, to discuss how the community can make a difference.

“With significant food price inflation in 2022 and the expiration of COVID-19 pandemic aid in 2023, food hardship has increased for many households across the country.”—

For this blog, we ask Navara Cannon four questions about the impact of inflation and how the community can help neighbors.

Q: How can local civic groups, religious groups, clubs, and organizations best support the NVFS Hunger Resource Center?

Navara: “One of the most immediate ways to help is by organizing a food drive and donating to the HRC. This can be done year-round. For groups looking for a list of most-needed items, I’m always available to provide it. Many churches already participate, holding food drives, sharing produce from their gardens, or making monetary donations. Additionally, we’re always looking for volunteers. We host packing events and other opportunities, such as seasonal clean-ups and annual inventory counts.”

Are you interested in volunteering? Groups or individuals can reach out to Navara directly at

Q: As we approach the fall and holiday season, what non-perishable food items are in high demand at the Hunger Resource Center?

Navara: “Our HRC shelves are critically low on non-perishables and dried goods. The most pressing needs include rice, canned vegetables (especially low-sodium varieties), canned meats like tuna, chicken, and spam, mac and cheese, hot cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, boxed potatoes, pancake mix, canned soup, dry beans, cooking oil, and more.

Another idea is, while shopping, to pick up some extra food to benefit others in the community.”

You can find a complete list of needed items at the Hunger Resource Center here.

Q: Can you describe the impact of a $100 donation on the HRC’s operations?

Navara: “Certainly! A $100 donation can fuel our HRC van, enabling us to pick up food donations and deliver them to community members, including homebound seniors. It also helps stock our shelves, ensuring we can continually distribute food to those in need. Furthermore, this allows us to fill about two or three bags of food for our pop-up locations, distributing 75-100 bags at a time. To put it in perspective, Darrell, our HRC Manager, recently mentioned that $100 could equate to 50-60 pounds of food, which, especially in the case of meat, doesn’t stretch very far. Every bit truly helps.”

Q: Do you have a heartwarming story about someone the HRC has assisted recently?

Navara: “Yes! Celia, who migrated from Bolivia with her husband, is a remarkable example. Living primarily on Celia’s part-time earnings, they discovered the HRC at the SERVE campus in Manassas, VA. Regularly visiting HRC became essential to supplement their food needs.

It wasn’t just about food, though. Celia met Heidi Camp through the HRC, our bilingual intake and referral coordinator. Heidi’s deep-rooted connection with NVFS, first as a volunteer and donor and now as an employee, enabled her to provide Celia with much more than sustenance. From clothing and footwear to information on acquiring glasses, dental care, workforce training, computer courses, and even citizenship/English lessons, Heidi has been an instrumental figure in Celia’s life. The genuine care and support Celia feels from Heidi epitomize the holistic approach NVFS believes in.”

The high cost of food is more than just a statistic or a news headline; it’s a daily challenge for many in our community. As Celia’s story highlights, the work of NVFS and the HRC transcends mere food distribution. To learn more, support, or volunteer, please visit

NVFS stands as a beacon of hope for countless families. By understanding their challenges and the solutions available, we can all play a role in ensuring no one in our community goes hungry.