For tens of thousands of poor children and families in our area, uncertainty and need are distant from the celebrations and plenty that so many of us associate with this holiday period.
The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about alleviating suffering for others.
Northern Virginia is among the wealthiest areas in the country. Many if not most of us go through our daily and seasonal routines without encountering evidence of the needy families among us.
Almost a third, 31 percent, of Arlington’s 28,495 students, are poor enough to qualify for subsidized meals. Many are children living in families who may be on the brink of homelessness, families who must choose between medical bills, car repair, heat and food. Some of these are children who may not be sure that they will have a meal between the meals they get in school.
School holidays can bring uncertainty and hunger, a far cry from the celebrations, gifts and plenty that we associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Hundreds of homeless students attend the public schools, and their needs are greater.
Many nonprofits in the county need your help to provide a holiday meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas, to provide children with gifts.
There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of ways to give locally this season. Here are a few ideas. Please let us know what we have missed.
— Mary Kimm, email@example.com
Give Locally in Arlington
Arlington Free Clinic provides free, high-quality health care to low-income, uninsured Arlington County adults through the generosity of donors and volunteers. www.arlingtonfreeclinic.org 2921 11th St. South, Arlington, VA 22204, 703-979-1425
A-SPAN provides services for Arlington’s street homeless. Its mission is to secure permanent housing for one of Arlington’s most vulnerable populations. P.O. Box 100731 Arlington, VA 22210, 703-820-4357,www.a-span.org/ and www.facebook.com/aspan.org/
Arlington Thrive provides one-time, same-day emergency financial assistance to Arlington residents facing a financial crisis, and also has programs to help prevent homelessness. 703-558-0035, www.arlingtonthrive.org
Doorways for Women and Families provides services to help women out of domestic violence and homelessness toward safe and stable lives, Arlington, www.doorwaysva.org, 703-504-9400.
The Arlington Food Assistance Center provides supplemental food assistance to Arlington County residents, distributes groceries to over 2,300 families every week. More than 35 percent are children. 2708 South Nelson Street, Arlington, VA 22206, www.afac.org/, 703-845-8486.
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, Arlington, 703-521-9890.
Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, collecting toys and gifts for children ages newborn-18 who call an APAH community home. These gifts will make up a holiday gift shop where parents can choose a gift for each of their children. Your donation will ensure children receive a gift during the holiday season. apah.org
Northern Virginia Family Services, 571-748-2500, www.nvfs.org, Employment and job training, healthcare, housing, mental health, foster care and Healthy Families.
Second Story — Abused and Homeless Children's Refuge, 2100 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA 22182. 703-506-9191, second-story.org. Second Story (formerly Alternative House) provides shelter and services for homeless, runaway or abused teenagers, unaccompanied youth, and young mothers and their children.
Comfort for America's Uniformed Services (CAUSE) ensures that recuperating service members have opportunities for recreation and social interaction and receive concrete signs of appreciation for all that they have done. Mailing address: 4201 Wilson Blvd., #110-284, Arlington, VA 22203, CFC #33011, Phone 703-591-4965, cause-usa.org
Neighborhood Health Clinics www.neighborhoodhealthva.org, Improving health and advance health equity in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax by providing access to high quality care regardless of ability to pay.
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, 703-237-0866,www.lcnv.org, Teaches adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking and understanding English.
The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia works to respond to critical need and seed innovation in our region. Please consider a 2018 year-end gift to our Community Investment Fund to support our signature grant cycle responding to critical need in the region. www.cfnova.org/for-donors/donate-now
TAPS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, 3033 Wilson Blvd., Third Floor, Arlingotn, VA 22201, Call 24/7 800-959-TAPS (8277) The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors offers compassionate care and resources to all those grieving the loss of a military loved one. Make a donation to support surviving military families and loved ones. You can also make a gift in honor or memory of a loved one. www.taps.org/donate
Friends of Guest House Northern Virginia offers structure, supervision, support and assistance to female ex-offenders who want to improve their lives and break the cycle of incarceration. Friends of Guest House offers the only program for women of its kind in Northern Virginia. One East Luray Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301-2025, 703-549-8072, firstname.lastname@example.org, friendsofguesthouse.org/