Calling All Walkers
Photo: Julia Jones
The Annandale CROP Hunger Walk will be held on October 15, at Lake Accotink Park. Registration begins at 8 am near the Lake Accotink Marina. After a short opening ceremony, the walk begins at 8:30.
The Annandale CROP Hunger Walk is a family-friendly activity to collect funds for Church World Service (CWS) programs and for ACCA. Church World Service works with Christian organizations around the world to sponsor programs for hunger, disaster, and refugee relief and development programs to help improve peoples' lives. In the US, CWS responds to natural disasters and supports refugee resettlement. For example, CWS is supporting recovery groups in areas affected by Hurricane Irene.
CWS returns part of the funds raised by CROP Walks to community efforts to fight hunger and poverty. The local share for the Annandale Walk goes to ACCA, which received $4,600 last year from this activity.
The CROP Walk Poster Contest promotes the Annandale CROP Walk and raises awareness about hunger. The contest is open to youth through grade 12. Please deliver contest entries by October 6 to the ACCA CDC, 7200 Columbia Pike, or to Camille Mittelholtz. Posters (14x22 inches or smaller) should be about hunger or fighting poverty. They should also include the CROP Walk information (October 15, 8 am, Lake Accotink Park). Please mark the artist's name, grade, and church on the back. All participants receive certificates, and winners are announced at the CROP Walk.
Walk materials are available from Camille Mittelholtz at email@example.com or 703-573-0074.
Pastors and Partners: Mark Your Calendars
ACCA pastors and partners soon will receive invitations to our annual Pastors and Partners Luncheon on October 20. Giant Foods again will provide the food for the event, which starts at 11:30 am at the Annandale United Methodist Church, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale. For more information or to register, contact Mary Lee Di Spirito at 703-256-9513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Furnishing A Sense of Community
The ACCA Furniture Team met at St. Alban's on August 27 to review their operations, solve problems, and plan for the coming year. In addition to Committee Chair Don Di Spirito and his wife Mary Lee, who assists with managing the program operation, those present included the volunteers who pick up, repair, and deliver furniture (and other household items) as well as representatives of Fairfax County, and the public schools that refer clients to ACCA.
At the meeting, Don and Mary Lee distributed a comprehensive report about the Furniture ministry. Here are a few excerpts:
The ACCA furniture ministry has many facets and faces. During the past 12 years, it has improved the lives of 15,500 needy clients.
A sense of the people who support this ministry and of those we serve can be found in the volunteers' own words:
"I am filled with joy every day that we provide some comfort to families . . . Another reason I love ACCA is its volunteers from different Christian churches, who share the same burning desire to help."
"Thank you for the work you do to serve those who are less fortunate. The opportunities to serve in deliveries and pick-ups have left me feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for the blessings that God has given us."
A long-time volunteer said he was thinking about ending his service because the work seemed too demanding for his advancing age. After delivering beds to a family who had been sleeping on the floor, a little girl with tears running down her face thanked the furniture crew for her single bed ... the first she ever had! He put aside thoughts about retiring.
One delivery team observed, "When we arrived, the room was dark except for the Christmas tree. When we left, they had comfortable chairs, side tables with cheerful lamps, and an attractive coffee table and rug. The space was transformed and so were all the souls."
And from a Fairfax County social worker: "Without your help, my client would have been faced with an empty apartment. Instead, you furnished her apartment with lovely items and made it into a home."
The stories vary but a common denominator is the furnishing and transformation of low-cost rental units into comfortable homes and places for healthy family life. This would not be possible without donated furniture delivered by ACCA volunteers working in collaboration with member churches, schools, local organizations, and County social workers.
The Furniture Ministry's clients have included families and individuals moving out of shelters and transitional housing; refugee families from Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, and Afghanistan; and other immigrants who have come to our area with few assets but great hope of participating in the American dream and way of life.
As one volunteer put it, "The ACCA furniture operation is a win-win for all involved." The donors are given the privilege of having unneeded furniture picked up at their homes and made available free of charge to needy households. The volunteer workers are given the opportunity of witnessing the generosity of donors/suppliers and the joyful gratitude of those being helped.
Those who want to donate furniture or to learn more about volunteering for the Furniture Ministry may call 703-256-7749.
ACCA Benefits from Workplace Giving
ACCA supporters have the opportunity to make designated gifts during the upcoming workplace giving campaigns
United Way of the National Capital Area will be kicking off its campaigns in mid-September at local business and county/city locations. You can designate to ACCA by using Code #8058.
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) takes place in federal government offices. Designations from the CFC provide substantial revenue for ACCA. Designate to ACCA through the CFC by using Code #58934.
Supporters of ACCA also can contribute through the work campaigns administered by America's Charities.
If you do not see ACCA or Annandale Christian Community for Action listed on campaign materials, write in ACCA so that your donation will support our programs. Participation in workplace giving is an opportunity to help ACCA meet ever-increasing calls for assistance.
|How We Do What We Do|
Marie Markey has resumed her responsibilities as Chair of the Family Emergency Assistance Program after a well-deserved sabbatical. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the volunteers who split up the Chair's responsibilities while Marie was away. During this period, Nancy Walker, Al Lambert, and Bill Pegram inaugurated a Web-based referral and record-keeping system in collaboration with Fairfax County and with financial support from the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region.
Treasurer Homer Christensen will continue using the I-Tool to write the checks for financial assistance. Nancy Hall will continue as Emergency Food and Shelter Program Coordinator; Julia Treagy will serve again as one of our 12 Money Captains who receive referrals (primarily by email), and Money Captain Gwen Blandburg will do double duty as Scheduler.
Our Money Captains testify that use of the I-Tool has simplified and strengthened the Family Emergency Assistance ministry as we "do what Jesus would do" to improve the lives of our needy neighbors. They report that the I-Tool has made them so efficient that they are able to carry out their duties in a few hours a day, sometimes during work breaks at home or on the job.
If you are interested in volunteering as an ACCA Money Captain, learn more by contacting Nancy Walker at email@example.com.
Emergency Assistance to the Rescue
During July and August, Family Emergency Assistance was the knight in shining armor to 71 individuals in 211 families in the ACCA service area. Some examples of the aid provided:
- A security deposit for a subsidized one-level apartment for an elderly couple who are physically disabled
- Assistance to purchase medication for a single mother who'd been injured on the job and was denied workmen's compensation
- Avoiding disconnection of electric service for the family of a school bus driver whose hours were cut back over the summer
- Gas money to enable a victim of domestic violence (and mother of two) to appear for a court hearing to make her protective order permanent
- Payment for a copy of a birth certificate needed for the resident of an assisted living facility to access his funds
- Purchase of medications for a mother of five who is physically and mentally disabled. She has applied for Medicaid.
- Payment of rent to avoid eviction of a single mother of two who was unemployed until recently and has not yet received a check for her new job
Food Pantry is Restocked
Briarwood held an additional food drive to help stock the pantry, which had run low on inventory. Many thanks to the youth groups of John Calvin Presbyterian Church, Annandale United Methodist Church, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who did a wonderful job of collecting and shelving all the food they collected. Thanks to these collections and volunteers, the Pantry is able to deliver the food and toilet items needed by the families referred to us.
In July, our volunteers made 72 deliveries to households including 217 people, and in August, they made 68 deliveries to assist 198. For more information about donating or volunteering, contact Jean Rackowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACCA Since 9/11
Ten years ago on September 11, a priest from St. Anthony's parish was near the Pentagon parking lot and saw the plane hit. Through the day and night, he administered to the dying, the injured, and their traumatized co-workers. For ACCA, it was the period after 9/11 that presented a challenge. What happened at the Pentagon, the shutdown of the airports, and fears of additional terrorist attacks had a disastrous effect on local tourism and business travel well into 2002. As a result, many restaurants, hotels, and small businesses in DC and Northern Virginia were forced to reduce staffing.
Through Fairfax County Human Services and member churches, ACCA received dozens of additional referrals of families whose breadwinners were unemployed after 9/11. They needed assistance with rent, utility bills, and medications ... as well as delivery of food and other essentials. We met this spike in need through additional donations from member churches, individuals, and targeted grants from Fairfax County and the United Way 9/11 Victims Fund.
Since 9/11, ACCA has continued to serve refugees who are victims of continuing turmoil in the Middle East. In addition, ACCA has been active in the interfaith dialogues sponsored by Fairfax County's Faith Communities in Action to increase understanding among Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other believers.
ESL Classes at St. Mark's
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English as a second language classes are beginning at St. Mark's.
Registration dates (Días de Matrícula): Tuesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 22, 7 pm-9 pm (martes, 20 de septiembre y jueves, 22 de septiembre de 7- 8 de la noche)
Test/Prueba: A placement exam will be given. Una prueba se tomará a los alumnos.
Classes: On TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS, starting: October 4, ending: December 15, from 8 pm to 9:30 p.m (los días MARTES y los JUEVES, inicio de clases: 4 de octubre hasta el 15 de diciembre de 8:00 - 9:30 de la noche).
Where/Lugar: 2nd floor, St. Mark Christian Formation Center, 9972 Vale Road, Vienna, VA (Segundo piso, del Centro de Formación Cristiana del Colegio St. Mark.
Cost/Costo: Cash only $20 (for 10 weeks of lessons) plus the cost of the book if necessary. Solamente $20 cash (por diez semanas de lecciones) más el costo del libro, si es necesario)
Questions/Mayor información: Contact/Llame a los telfs: (703) 424-1046; o (703) 626-3585; o (703) 300-3936, se habla español)
Note: There is no public transportation to St. Mark. (Para su información: no hay transportación pública para llegar a St. Mark's.)