As Don Frickel, right, listens, Therese Dyer-Caplan honors long-time Share volunteer Hunter Pollitt who will be moving to the northwest. “He knows our clients by name, their children and their stories. They know him as a person they share their life with; births, job offers, promotions, health scares, legal trouble, graduations, victories, defeats. He’ll be a hard act to follow.”
Photo by Ken Moore.
Nate Gallen’s father needed a volunteer to help deliver furniture to a family in need on Thanksgiving Day five years ago,
“I knew he escaped on the weekends after retirement but never knew exactly what it was that he did,” said Gallen.
Gallen is now a regular volunteer for Share of McLean’s Furniture Exchange Program, where volunteers pick up and deliver clean used furniture for families in need and formerly homeless individuals.
“I can understand why my Dad did this for so many years,” said Gallen. “I look around and see so many wonderful folks involved in so many different aspects of this.”
“You really get to see a lot of the good spirit in the community and the compassion that people have,” he said.
Last year, Share delivered used donated furniture to 200 households, and 700 family members, mostly children.
“Through people’s generosity and compassion, there are always things to be delivered. Through that, we’re able to make a bit of a difference and help people get their lives started again,” said Gallen.
Share honored its volunteers at an appreciation dinner at McLean Baptist Church on Thursday, April 14.
SHARE WAS ESTABLISHED in 1969 by a coalition of faith communities to help meet the emergency needs of people who are less fortunate in the area.
Last year, Share provided assistance to more than 1,500 households, including 4,300 family members.
Clients include economically distressed families and individuals, seniors living on limited pensions, impoverished immigrants, victims of domestic abuse and recently homeless individuals.
Clients are referred to Share by local faith communities, social workers and a number of nonprofits working with victims of spousal abuse and formerly homeless households.
Share partners with the Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Program.
Last year, Share spent $150,000, 57 percent of its budget, on its Family Assistance Program, a crisis intervention program to pay bills to help families avoid evictions or utility stoppages.
“We provide cash to people who have a short-term need and a bump in the road, somebody who got sick and missed a few paychecks and is about to be evicted because they haven’t paid their rent or Dominion is going to come and turn off their electricity,” said Board President Don Frickel.
Sometimes families need temporary help due to illness, job loss or family crisis.
“We step in after getting a little understanding of what their situation is and we pay the demander of the money directly and that usually gets people over that hump and on to better things,” he said.
THE ALL-VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION has more than 35 core volunteers and more than 200 occasional volunteers to help with all their programs, which includes a Food and Clothing program housed at space donated by McLean Baptist Church.
Food Pantry and Clothing Rooms are open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon in donated space at the McLean Baptist Church, 1367 Chain Bridge Rd.
Share provides more than 1,000 bags of groceries and 200 bags of clothing to its clients each month.
Katie Sue got involved when she was job hunting in October 2011.
“On your resume, they want you to have something that you’ve been doing instead of sitting on the couch so I started volunteering with Share on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the food pantry,” she said. “I fell in love with it. I felt really good.”
She is now a Board member.
“I stayed because of the people, other volunteers are so wonderful,” she said. She appreciates that she gets to give people “fresh vegetables, full bellies.”
“Area churches have their garden plots, they grow lettuce and fresh stuff and they bike it in the morning,” she said.
Share’s operations are dependent on volunteers and private contributions since it receives no government funding.
Chris Wilbur helps run the Holiday Program.
Share raised $50,000 last holiday season to give clothing, toys and gift cards to approximately 250 families in need in McLean, Great Falls and Pimmit Hills. Families were invited to an annual holiday celebration in December.
“Everybody’s needs are different. If you don’t know your clients, you may not know what people are struggling with,” said Wilbur.
“If you are looking for a way to give to somebody who might be your neighbor, by coming to Share, you can help people who live right in your own community,” she said.