Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

The observance this week of the great spiritual holidays of Easter and Passover offers an opportunity to contemplate some of the significant contributions that faith-based volunteer groups add to our community.

The Annandale Christian Community for Action, or ACCA as it is known more familiarly, has provided emergency housing assistance, food, and furniture to Mason District families for more than 40 years. ACCA is supported by more than 400 volunteers, monetary and in-kind contributions by churches, individuals, and community groups, as well as by foundation grants. Last year, ACCA’s ministry provided 445 households with almost $290,000 to pay rent, utilities, car repairs, and lifesaving prescriptions. Assistance is provided without regard to religious affiliation.

In budget testimony before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last week, ACCA Vice President Nancy Hall reported that, in just the past six months, ACCA helped with eight mortgages, and helped 10 clients move into sobriety houses after they completed the Salvation Army substance abuse program. Reflecting the substantial downturn in the economy, ACCA spent $47,000 in January and February, helping 122 families or individuals. In fact, Nancy said, as money captain for the first week in March, she spent $9500 of the $7100 she was allotted (do the math!) because the need was so great. ACCA helped a grandmother and two grandchildren with rent; kept another family from being evicted, and provided utility assistance for a family of six, two of whom were children with disabilities.

Request for food deliveries doubled this year so far, and ACCA volunteers became members of the Capital Area Food Bank, allowing ACCA to purchase bulk foodstuffs at a significant discount. In Fiscal Year 2008, ACCA volunteers collected, purchased, and delivered food and household necessities to nearly 2100 clients in 660 households. Furniture teams pick up gently used or surplus furniture and helped 325 needy households. ACCA volunteers delivered nearly 15,000 Meals-on-Wheels to home-bound senior citizens.

ACCA’s Child Development Center provides fee-based quality child care for nearly 300 children, and is the only ACCA service that has a paid director and staff. Judy Falkenrath is the Center director, and Mason District representative and chairman of the county’s Child Care Advisory Council. In testimony before the Board, Judy said that the ACCA Center assures that children are safe, well-fed, well-cared for, and ready for school. Quality child care stabilizes families and helps them to be self-sufficient, and identifies and addresses special needs of their little ones.

Despite all the volunteer hours and fundraising efforts, ACCA, and other non-profit organizations, need your help during these difficult times. Monetary donations, food, furniture, and volunteers are needed and welcomed. Log-on to www.accacares.org for more information about how you can help.

Mason District Park’s Spring Egg Hunt, for children ages one to nine, will be held this Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. The $6 per child registration fee includes candy, eggs, a special prize drawing, and one free amusement ride. Walk-in registration is available the day of the event (please arrive early to register), and bring your own basket. Mason District Park is located at 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

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