Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) held a town hall meeting on Wednesday, June 20 to outline its new budget, and show what resources will be needed to ensure that the organization does not close its doors.
WFCM is a non-profit group that assists families under poverty level by providing them with financial aid, as well as food and clothing. However, WFCM has been unable to make its own rent for a few months now, and has had to cut 12 jobs, and demote the remaining workers to part-time status.
"OUR MAIN reason for this meeting is to inform everyone on what is to be lost if we do not have enough volunteers or earn enough money," said Karen Dolan, chair of developments. "We provide groceries for over 300 families a month, and our thrift store is the only dependable source of revenue."
"It's going to take new volunteers, more commitment, time and money so that we can keep going," said minister Pat Deavers. "We can't be what we were six months ago. We desperately need to regroup."
One of the proposed solutions to have more volunteers to man the food lines during the week. A food pantry manager and thrift store manager would be necessary. Each of WFCM's 36-member churches would need a new volunteer coordinator, and more donations and support would prove invaluable for WFCM to continue its mission.
"We need to see that commitment, even if it's once a month," said WFCM Executive Director Dorothy Fonow. "Then we can start building again. It all comes back to man power."
WFCM's proposed bare-bones budget is $22,000 a month. This will cover rent for their facility, utilities, trash removal, repairs, and reduced salaries, as well as aiding the food line.
WFCM has appealed to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for financial aid.
"As far as we know, we understand that the Board of Supervisors have never seen our request. Michael Frey is the only supervisor to see our request and it wasn't presented to the other supervisors for consideration," said Deavers. "They have not had the opportunity to review our proposal."
Another speaker at the meeting was Ariana Wolynik-Werner, a Hurricane Katrina evacuee who was aided by WFCM until she was able to get back on her feet.
"HOMELESSNESS isn't at the top of the list when planning your future," said Wolynik-Werner. "WFCM gave me housing and food. Without all of you, this place wouldn't be my home."
Another way WFCM helps underprivileged families is by providing budget counseling. According to Dolan, this type of counseling has had an 100 percent success rate. Counseled families have stayed in their homes, have been better off financially, have not been in debt, and have even been able to save some money.
In order for WFCM to continue its mission, however, volunteers and donations are absolutely crucial.
"Time is more powerful than money," said Fonow. "Speak to your neighbors and coworkers about our work. If we had to close our doors, we would have many concerns: our clients need us."