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Charities Receive Funds at Holiday Celebration

The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna presents donations to The Committee for Helping Others and Our Daily Bread.

From left--Chris Garris, Food Program manager with Our Daily Bread, Jim Larson, chairman of The Committee for Helping Others, and the Shepherd's Center Executive Director Michelle Scott are all smiles as Scott presents a donation to the two charitable organizations.

From left--Chris Garris, Food Program manager with Our Daily Bread, Jim Larson, chairman of The Committee for Helping Others, and the Shepherd's Center Executive Director Michelle Scott are all smiles as Scott presents a donation to the two charitable organizations. Photo by Andrea Worker.

Last month, The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna (SCOV) pulled off their 14th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship, hosted by Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Vienna. This month, the SCOV was ready to present the funds collected at the well-attended service to representatives of the two charitable organizations chosen by SCOV as this year’s recipients of the collection.

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There was a lot of holiday cheer on display as the volunteers from The Shepherd's Center of Oakton-Vienna gathered to present this year's donations to two area organizations providing essential services to those in need within the community.

The SCOV, an interfaith network of community-based organizations dedicated to enriching the lives of our older citizens and providing for their needs, is housed on the second floor of the Vienna Baptist Church. On Monday, Dec. 17, a meeting room around the corner from their offices was packed with staff and volunteers, and a table full of home baked holiday goodies. After some cheerful mixing and mingling among the attendees, SCOV Executive Director Michelle Scott called for a bit of order and made the presentations.

“This was our best effort ever. The community continues to be generous with their time and with their money.”

-- Michelle Scott, SCOV executive director

In light of the less than blooming economic environment, Scott had reason to be proud when she addressed the room. After thanking everyone involved in coordinating the Interfaith Service, Scott announced, “This was our best effort ever. The community continues to be generous with their time and with their money. When the counting was done we had collected over three thousand dollars. I am so pleased to present these checks to such worthy organizations who provide critical services to those around us in need.”

Jim Larson, Chairman, accepted over $1500 for The Committee for Helping Others (CHO). Founded in 1969 by a group of churches and concerned individuals, the all-volunteer CHO serves Vienna, Oakton, Merrifield and Dunn Loring, providing emergency financial assistance, transportation, Meal on Wheels and operating a food pantry and clothes closet.

Chris Garris, Food Program Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for Our Daily Bread of Fairfax (ODB) was next up to accept her organization’s half of the donation. “Every penny is needed,” said Garris. “We assisted 3,000 clients just during the Thanksgiving holidays.” ODB serves all of Fairfax County. Many of their clients are referred to them by county agencies. “In fact, once again this year ODB was chosen by the county as the point of coordination and distribution,” explained Garris. “We are often the emergency first step for folks who need help and can’t wait until the paperwork is complete. We focus on people who often fall between the cracks, those who are just making it and can be left devastated--even homeless--by an unforeseen emergency.” In addition to providing and resourcing emergency needs and services, ODB runs financial literacy and other mentoring programs to help people in these situations become more self sufficient and better prepared for the future.

For those who want to helps those efforts, or those who may be in need, Executive Director Scott invites a call to the Shepherd’s Center at 703-281-0538, or a visit to their website SCOV.org.