New Year’s resolutions often focus on the very personal — lose weight, get more exercise, quit smoking, learn a new skill, get organized. New Year’s resolutions also can be doing something for your community, or “giving back.” That’s precisely what the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) does every day in the Annandale, Lincolnia, and Falls Church-Bailey’s Crossroads areas of Mason District.
Founded by volunteers from several member churches in 1967, ACCA operates the ACCA Child Development Center (CDC) on Columbia Pike in Annandale, as well as ACCA’s Human Services’ multiple ministries. The CDC provides high-quality early education and development for children ages three months to five years; child care subsidies are available for families who qualify on the basis of income. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently announced his early childhood education request in the biennial state budget to an enthusiastic crowd at the CDC.
ACCA’s Human Services ministries are several, all operated by volunteers, and dependent on the generosity of community members. Family Emergency Assistance (rent, utility bills, prescriptions, e.g.) helps households address true emergencies, usually on a one-time basis, referred by Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning hotline, 703-222-0880. The Food Pantry provides hundreds of families with basic nutritional needs, and also donates food for distribution to families at Bailey’s Elementary School and Annandale High School. Watch for the annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign at the Annandale Giant, 7136 Columbia Pike, on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9:30 a.m. — 4 p.m. Adding $5 or $10 (or more) of non-perishable foods to your grocery shopping can help ACCA replenish food supplies. They make it even easier by pre-packaging foodstuffs for you – just pick up a pre-made bag, pay for it, and drop it at the bus outside on your way back to your vehicle. It’s fast, easy, and for a very good cause.
One of my favorite ACCA activities is the Furniture Ministry. Operated out of a small building on the grounds of Annandale United Methodist Church, the Furniture Ministry delivers donated new or gently-used bedding, tables, chairs, and other household items to help needy neighbors provide a safe and comfortable home for their families. More than 150 volunteers provided almost 2,500 hours of volunteer labor in 2019 for the Furniture Ministry alone.
Another annual event is the CROP Hunger Walk, usually held on a cold morning in October at Lake Accotink. Donations raised by the CROP Walk go to Church World Service, which fights hunger around the world. Walkers raised more than $20,000 this year, and a quarter of that was returned to ACCA for its emergency assistance program.
Fairfax County may rank high on lists of the wealthiest jurisdictions, but not all enjoy those benefits. That’s why it is so important to support ACCA and its efforts to serve neighbors in need. ACCA was named one of the best small non-profits in the Metro area by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Its Human Services arm is run entirely by volunteers; in FY 2019, more than 96 percent of expenditures went directly to helping neighbors in need. To find out more about ACCA’s activities, or to volunteer, or donate, visit ACCAcares.org, or email [email protected] It’s a great way to start the New Year, and a worthy resolution you actually can keep!