Last Saturday, Dec. 3, students in Stone Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society held a Panther Drop-Off gift collection for Our Neighbor’s Child. Community members brought donations of brand-new toys, books, games and clothing to the school, and the students packaged it all up and loaded it in a truck for transport to ONC’s warehouse.
Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.
The nonprofit Our Neighbor’s Child (ONC) provides financially struggling, local families with new toys and clothes for the holidays. Children under 12 also receive brand-new books, and every family gets two dozen, home-baked cookies made by the local high schools.
“Fairfax County is an expensive place to live; and for many residents, it’s hard to make ends meet,” said ONC Executive Director Kelly Lavin. “So our efforts relieve stress on what are mostly single moms worrying about how they’ll provide for their children for the holidays. And in most cases, we’re preventing them from using next month’s electric-bill payment or rent money for it, instead.”
This year, ONC will brighten Christmas for some 800 families — but that’s a big task, and it can’t do it alone. It really needs the community to step up and lend a hand toward the effort. Here’s how people may help:
Sunday, Dec. 11, from noon-2 p.m., set-up day at the warehouse.
Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 12-13, from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Westfield, Centreville and Chantilly high school SGAs - warehouse gift drop-off.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 3:30-6:30 p.m., bag check and shopping night.
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., packaging day.
Thursday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Cookie drop-off at the Virginia Run Community Center, 15355 Wetherburn Court, off Route 29 and Pleasant Valley Road, in Centreville. ONC will deliver approximately 20,000 homemade cookies along with the gifts, so plenty of baking help is needed. Each family gets a mixed assortment; bring the cookies in disposable containers.
Sunday, Dec. 18, from 1-4 p.m., delivery day.
Wednesday, Dec. 21, from noon-2 p.m., warehouse clean up.
To help with any of these things, people may email ONC at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at www.ourneighborschild.org, and click on “volunteer” at the top of the page. They may pick whatever appeals to them; baking cookies, shopping, packaging gifts, delivering gifts, or setting up or cleaning up the warehouse.