Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc
WINTER 2014 NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
President's Report
Executive Director
Food Baskets
Financial Workshop
Volunteer Spotlight
Thanks to Our Major Supporters
The People We Help
Bargain Loft
Board News
Volunteering

President's Report 

 

Many new and exciting things have been unfolding in the past few months that I want to share with all of our friends, supporters and volunteers. The most significant is that we now have a full time Executive Director. In the Fall our part-time Executive Director, Gale Napoliello, resigned and helped the Board of Directors (BOD) recognize the need for someone full time. We began a search and hired Christine Poward, who is quickly soaking up all that is involved in FISH's complex operations. Gale remains very involved with FISH.

 

Our hats are off to Mia Merin, for her leadership in the 2013 Basket Program. This huge project was made even more challenging as the number of clients we served almost doubled from the previous year. A great deal of the increase was due to an increase in the number of Seniors living in the Hunters Woods and Lake Anne Fellowship Houses needing assistance. Robyn Kampf, the former Basket Program Leader, helped to guide Mia throughout this challenging project.

 

Judy Duncan, our Information & Referral Service Contractor, reported a significant increase in calls with an average of 118 calls per day. The amount of assistance distributed also set new records. This makes it essential that the community continue to give generously so that we have sufficient funds to meet these emergency needs.

 

Our new Website was launched in December thanks to Mike Heffner. It offers us many options for updating, receiving donations and collecting data. Thanks to Ed Robichaud we also began using Donor Snap, a computer program designed to help us optimize our support base and integrate information. If you have had an address change or have not previously received Fling Invitations, please use the Web Site to provide your current information.

 

We are currently talking with Cornerstones and Connections for Hope about becoming a partner and working even more closely with other key non-profits to more effectively assist our clients in attaining a stable life. Our role in the partnership will continue to be providing the Friendly, Instant, Sympathetic Help to residents of Herndon and Reston in crisis as we have done since 1969.

 

Mark your calendars for Fling 2014 on April 26, 2014. This year the Fling will feature more Casino Games and we will again enjoy the music of The Franklin Connection (formerly Free Tom) Band at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Herndon.

 

Good luck with staying warm this winter, 

Janet Hyman  

 

Executive Director
        

 

 

Please welcome our new Executive Director, Christine Poward, to Herndon-Reston FISH. Christine is already active in her new position becoming acquainted with our programs and activities. With a B.A. in Health Science and Policy, she has considerable experience working with non-profits and associations including NeighborWorks America, the Association of Nutritional Services Agencies, and the Spina Bifida Association and Lupus Foundation in Washington, D.C. She can be reached by email at Christine@herndonrestonfish.org.

 

Food Baskets

   

 

 Left - Gretchen Wilson and her daughter Paige collecting food for the holiday baskets at the Franklin Farm Giant. Seven adults and 10 students collected 23 boxes of food and $200 in donations. Right - Margo Moser and Robyn Kampf (on the right) sort food at the United Christian Parish church for preparing food baskets. Robyn coordinated the Food Basket Program for FISH for 12 years.

 

The 2013 Holiday Assistance Program that provides food and gifts to needy families was a huge success. Fish supported both the elderly and young families in our community. Thanks to Mia Merin, the new Holiday Assistance Coordinator, and 150 volunteers, food baskets, a gift card, and presents for children were provided this holiday season. For Thanksgiving 390 families were helped, and for Christmas 380 families were helped. Toys were provided to 260 children and gift cards to 130 teenagers. FISH appreciates the numerous volunteers, organizations, and businesses who helped in this endeavor. Donations of food, gifts, and cash totaled about $57,000. We were able to help all families who requested help through Fairfax County and the FISH hotline. FISH has been providing holiday food baskets for over 25 years to residents in Herndon and Reston.  

Financial Workshop

 

 

Karen Stevens (left) and Peggy LeReeche (right) prepare to check in clients for the financial workshop. Peggy has coordinated the workshop for many years.

 

FISH offers a 90-minute financial workshop for those who receive help from us, and in fact, our clients cannot ask for assistance a second time without taking the workshop. It covers setting priorities, making a budget, and steps to make better financial decisions. In 2013, the course was attended by 207 clients plus their guests. The workshop now has a new location at the United Christian Parish at Lake Anne. This facility is larger and easier to get to than the previous location. The course is taught primarily by Don Owens from Griffin-Owens Insurance in Herndon and, occasionally by Tom Haselhorst, Managing Director of Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors in Tysons Corner. Volunteers for Cornerstones provide childcare so clients can devote full attention to the workshop. One example of its success is that a workshop participant contributed to FISH when she was promoted, because FISH had been there to help her when she was in need.

 

 

FISH is a member of the following campaigns: 

 

United Way Campaign No. 8359

UW Logo

Combined Federal Campaign No. 83534

 CFC Logo

Volunteer Spotlight

 

 

Mia Merin 

 

Mia undertook the huge job of organizing the food baskets and gifts for Thanksgiving and Christmas (see article below). Mia was introduced to FISH by Shirley Olson, one of our long-time volunteers. Mia has been working with FISH for two years and she now serves on the Board. Mia found organizing the event to be a lot of work but it was very rewarding. When asked for some memorable moments she said "getting a hug from a client who received much wanted art supplies for her son as a gift" and "providing clothing for a 12-year old girl who wanted clothing rather than toys." The young girl was a survivor of a brain tumor and could participate only in limited activities. The clothing was only slightly used and donated by a friend of Mia's. Our thanks to Mia for a job well done.

 

Thanks to Our Major  Supporters

 
Thanks to the following groups and individuals for contributions of $1,000 or more recently to FISH 

 

Allen Lenz

Babette Husson

Bradley Farm Homeowners Assoc.

Celeste & Gustav Rueffert

Exxon Mobil Foundation, Matching Gifts

Gannett Foundation

Gary Brown

Griffin-Owens & Associates

Haze Hanna

Hidden Creek Country Club

Janet Hyman

John & Hilda Arnold Foundation

Just Give, Anonymous Donors

JV Schiro Zavela Foundation

Nelson J. & Katherine Friant Post Foundation

Reston Community Center

Sallie Mae, Inc

St. Anne's Episcopal Church

Sandra Alexander.

St. Mark Catholic Church

The Closet, Herndon

Thomas Lyons

Unitarian Universalist Church, Reston

United Christian Parish, Reston

United Way of Natl. Capital Area

Vineet Daga

Wesley Callender & Pat Davis

Anonymous Donors 

 

The People We Help

  
A woman requested help with her VA Power bill to prevent her electricity from being turned off. The amount the woman owed was slightly over our limit. We asked if someone could pay part of the bill and she said her brother could. Once he did, the woman called the FISH office and we paid the remainder of her bill. We also gave her the VA Power Energy Share Number and suggested she speak to them about putting her on an affordable payment plan. She didn't know this assistance program existed. 
 
In December a woman called FISH saying she had an emergency concerning her four- year-old son. The boy has leukemia and needed a treatment. She had exhausted every source of income and still needed an amount over our limit. We were able to get an exception by our Board and pay the amount needed for this life-saving treatment. You can only imagine how grateful the mother was!

 

A married couple with three children was laid off and their unemployment benefits took longer than anticipated to be approved. They were unable to pay their electric bill. When they called FISH they had been cut off for 9 days. FISH was able to pay their entire bill and reinstate their utilities.

Bargain Loft

 

 

The Bargain Loft had another successful Christmas store thanks to our managers April Elliot and Barbara Williams and many dedicated volunteeers. Customers found bargains and enjoyed the nicely decorated shop. Please remember the Bargain Loft as you downsize or clean out closets. 

Board News

FISH regrets that Suzanne Rudiselle will no longer be serving on the Board of Directors because of an impending move to Ashburn. Suzanne, who helped with the Assistance Program and served on the Board for 9 years, will remain active with FISH. As Vice-President she served as Chair of the Personnel Committee and led the successful search for the new Executive Director.

 

Gale Napoliello ended her employment as part-time Executive Director on January 1 and has volunteered to remain active in FISH. Gale was elected to the Board and will serve as Vice President in place of Suzanne Rudiselle. We thank Gale for the great job she did as Executive Director. 

 

Another change to the Board is that Jennifer Heffner, recently elected to the Board, will be in charge of publicity. She and her husband, Mike, have revised the FISH Website; see the new version at www.HerndonRestonFISH.org. 

Volunteering

  Volunteers are needed to:

 

-work at the Bargain Loft as cashiers or merchandise sorters.

 

-help with Family Assistance to receive telephone calls and process the information.

 

-drive those in need  to medical appointments.

  

To volunteer call 703-391-0105 and leave your name and contact information.

Quick Links

Find us on the Internet

www.HerndonRestonFISH.org

FISH and The Bargain Loft are on Facebook

 

  https://www.facebook.com/HerndonRestonFISH  

 If you're on Facebook, be sure to show us to your friends by "liking" us
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The Bargain Loft sells on eBay!

 

under the name


 DownstairsUpstairs