You might be surprised to know that, according to wfcmva.org, nearly 70,000 residents of Fairfax County live below the poverty line, which is defined as an annual income of $24,600 for a family of four. And another 174,000 people live at or below twice that amount, which is an annual income of $49,200 for a family of four. What makes these figures even more glaring is that Fairfax County is considered one of wealthiest counties in the United States. Of course, Fairfax County is just one out of many counties in America struggling with these problems.
Because the cost of living is so high in counties like Fairfax, many low-income families find it difficult to meet their basic, fundamental needs — food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Since this is an obvious indication of a greater problem within our socio-economic, and even political system, non-profit organizations like Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) can only treat the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause. Nonetheless, WFCM has stepped up to help meet this growing need on a local level, specifically in Chantilly, Centreville, Clifton, Oak Hill, Fairfax, and Fairfax Station.
Since 1987, WFCM has been a critical safety net for Fairfax families struggling to make ends meet. They provide emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, and other basic needs; food assistance through their “client choice” food pantry and holiday food program; financial counseling and budgeting classes; a school backpack program; and spiritual support.
When Leslie Hoban and Capital Home Professionals discovered that WFCM was in need of volunteers to stock the food pantry, do fundraising, raise awareness, and provide food for needy families in her own county, she was happy to step up to the plate, as well, and do her part. Their first experience helping the organization was in donating backpacks for children starting school.
Since then, they have also gone on to work in the WFCM food pantry, where they bring in thousands of cans, check expiration dates, categorize according to food types, and stock shelves. The food pantry is laid out like a small grocery store, with shelves of dry goods, canned foods, personal hygiene products, refrigerated vegetables, meats, and frozen foods. Each client has a shopping basket and is able to shop in privacy.
“It is a very dignified approach to giving those in need an opportunity to get the foods and products their family needs,” says Leslie. “Knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of children and families right in our community, while at the same time doing something we can all be proud of together, is beyond rewarding. In our small way, we are doing something to reduce hunger in our community.”
Growing up in McLean, Virginia, and having lived in Great Falls for many years, Leslie now resides in Reston. She has watched the Washington D.C. metro area grow from “the sleepy town” of her youth to a major metropolis and loves the dynamic and vibrant transformation of the urban areas. However, she is secretly hoping the “small town” charm of those communities she knows and loves will stay a vital part of Northern Virginia. She decided to enter real estate after interning at a local real estate office during her senior year at Virginia Tech, where she earned a degree in marketing management from the Pamplin School of Business.
Leslie started her career working as an investment advisor, while still selling real estate part-time for many years. She then worked in the commercial interior design/build-out industry for several years, as well as a personal stylist for some very successful Washingtonians. However, she always knew she’d return to real estate. She ultimately decided to re-activate her license about 6 years ago and soon formed The Hoban Real Estate Group.
In addition to volunteering with WFCM, Leslie serves on two volunteer committees within NVAR — the Technology Advisory Group, helping agents learn about and utilize technology in their business; and the Awards and Recognitions Committee, which recognizes agents for their community service, leadership, production, volunteering efforts, and other causes.
Leslie also supports the Alzheimer’s Association and the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” with her husband, siblings, niece’s family, and friends who still live in the area. They have put together a team to walk, raise money, and awareness in honor of Leslie’s mother, who tragically passed away from the disease. Last year, they made the Champions Club for fundraising, and this year, they have made a commitment to double their monetary goal and expand their team membership. Leslie and her husband Jim have four children, six grandchildren whom she enjoys traveling to and visiting, and two Scotties whom she loves.
As Leslie continues her work both inside and outside of real estate, she will continue to make a difference wherever she goes. As she says, “Success, for me, is doing something you love and have a passion for, and ultimately making a positive impact on others’ lives.”