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Coalition Finds Home

For the past 10 years, Karen Velez has worked for the Community Holiday Coalition. For the past 10 years, she has worried about space.

"We need a lot of space," Velez said. "We need room for food and toys and all of the good stuff."

Velez is the project coordinator for the Community Holiday Coalition’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, which serves less fortunate families, children and senior citizens during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The coalition recently found space for the 2005 holiday season. The Lerner Corporation, owners of the Dulles Town Center, has provided a home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas stores, for the fourth year.

"It’s a huge relief," Velez said. "Last year, we did not get a space until the first week in November. We started work the second week of the month. We wanted to eliminate the pressure this year."

The 20,000 square feet of office space is located off Route 28 and 606, at 45335 Vintage Park Plaza in Sterling.

"This means that we can deliver personal care baskets at Thanksgiving," Velez said.

The coalition usually distributes these baskets during the Christmas season. They are being distributed early because there is room available.

"This is a big change for our donors," Velez said. "That means we will have more room at Christmas."

Since 1996, the Community Holiday Coalition has helped serve hundreds of Loudoun County families, children and senior citizens during the holiday season. Last year, it helped about 1,300 families.

"Come January, 1, I’ll be looking again," Velez said.