Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about alleviating suffering for others.
Northern Virginia is among the wealthiest areas in the country. Many, if not most, of us go through our daily and seasonal routines without encountering evidence of the needy families among us.
In Alexandria, more than 8,700 students are poor enough to receive free or subsidized meals. That’s almost 60 percent of the slightly more than 15,000 students enrolled.
The city’s estimated median family income rose in 2015 to $109,175.
But among Alexandria’s families with children, 10.7 percent have incomes below the poverty line. That’s $20,420 for a family of three. That’s about $1,700 a month. The median monthly housing cost in Alexandria is over $1,700, meaning the cost for half the housing is more than that. Median rent is $1,555.
These are children living in families who may be on the brink of homelessness, families who must choose between medical bills, car repair, heat and food. Some of these are children who may not be sure that they will have a meal between the meals they get in school.
School holidays can bring uncertainty and hunger, a far cry from the celebrations, gifts and plenty that we associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Hundreds of homeless students attend the public schools, and their needs are greater.
Many nonprofits in the city need your help to provide a holiday meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas, to provide children with gifts.
There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of ways to give locally this season. Here are a few ideas. We will rerun this list again after Thanksgiving, so please let us know what we have missed.
— Mary Kimm
Where to Give Locally:
List of Nonprofits in City of Alexandria
ALIVE! Alexandria; 2723 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302; (703) 837-9300; ALIVE! serves thousands Alexandrians annually with shelter; low-cost early childhood education and childcare; financial help for rent, utilities, medical care and other critical needs; emergency food; and deliveries of donated furniture and houseware. www.alive-inc.org
Senior Services of Alexandria, 703-836-4414,www.seniorservicesalex.org, Support services for elders enabling them to age with dignity.
Tahirih Justice Center, 703-575-0070, www.tahirih.org, Legal services, public policy advocacy, and education for immigrant women and girls.
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, 703-746-4774,www.alexandriaanimals.org, Pet adoptions, spay and neuter assistance, education and community service and outreach.
Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia, 703-820-9001, www.scanva.org, Parent education, public education-re: child abuse and court advocacy for abused and neglected children.
Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serves as a safety net for clients of the Community Services Board who encounter extraordinary or emergency financial needs. With no paid staff or rented space, the Friends group is able to devote 98 percent of donations and grants it receives to client support and co-sponsorship of free public educational programs. See bit.ly/friendsoftheAMHC
Rebuilding Together Alexandria, 703-836-1021,www.RebuildingTogetherAlex.org, Home repair and maintenance for vulnerable veterans, elderly, disabled and families with children.
ACT for Alexandria, 703-739-7778, www.actforalexandria.org, Nonprofit and donor services.
Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless, 703-525-7177, www.aachhomeless.org.
Carpenter's Shelter, 703 548-7500,www.carpentersshelter.org, Homeless services and programs including education and case management.
The Campagna Center, 703-549-0111,www.campagnacenter.org
Center for Alexandria’s Children, 703-838-4381,www.centerforalexandriaschildren.org, Child abuse & neglect and parent support.
Child and Family Network Centers, 703-836- 0214,www.cfnc-online.org
Community Lodgings, Inc., 703-549-4407 Transitional and affordable housing, youth education, adult education, bilingual staff assistance.
Computer C.O.R.E. 703-931-7346, www.computercore.org, Adult education, computer training and career development.
Hopkins House, 703-549-8072,www.hopkinshouse.org, Preschool academy, family budgeting and literacy, family education and youth summer enrichment camp, Early Childhood Learning Institute.
Northern Virginia Family Services, 571-748-2500, www.nvfs.org, Employment and job training, healthcare, housing, mental health, foster care and Healthy Families.
Volunteer Alexandria, 123 N Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-836-2176; http://volunteeralexandria.org; Volunteer recruitment and placement, court-referred community service placement, community awareness events, and volunteer management training. See www.achsova.org.
Bethany House, 6121 Lincolnia Rd #303, Alexandria, VA 22312; (703) 658-9500; http://www.bhnv.org/; Bethany House provides emergency shelter and supportive services to victims of domestic violence throughout Northern Virginia and the surrounding D.C. metro communities.
The Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, Virginia 22042, 703-237-0866, lcnv.org, teaches adults to speak, read, write and understand English at the most basic level. The organization has been around for 55 years, and serves Fairfax and Arlington counties and the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria. Most of the students are immigrants, and they are mostly women, and low income.
The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia has launched its Permanent Fund campaign, a community endowment which is a forever source to provide critical support for those in need in the Northern Virginia region; Consider leaving a legacy through a current or planned gift to the Permanent Fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. http://www.cfnova.org/permanentfund.
Neighborhood Health Clinics www.neighborhoodhealthva.org, To improve health and advance health equity in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax by providing access to high quality care regardless of ability to pay.
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA) helps families build strength, stability, and self-reliance to create better lives for themselves and their children through affordable homeownership. Serving Fairfax and Arlington counties and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. 295 Edsall Road, Suite 120, Alexandria, VA 22312; phone: 703-521-9890; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.habitatnova.org. Alexandria ReStore: 703-360-6700.