Happy Thanksgiving! An early look at the weather report forecasts a nice day, perfect for raking leaves, watching football, and gathering with family and friends around tables laden with good food and fellowship. If only that could be the scenario for everyone.
Sadly, too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling during this festive time. But you can help. Many local non-profit organizations manage food pantries, and collect funds to meet other needs in the community. One of my favorites is ACCA, The Annandale Christian Community for Action, a volunteer organization supported by a consortium of diverse faith communities in the Annandale and Bailey’s Crossroads area. ACCA has a food pantry, but also accepts donations that help with rent, medical bills, utility bills, and furniture for families in need. Donations (tax deductible) may be sent to ACCA, 7220 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Virginia 22003. ACCA has received a challenge grant from the Washington Forrest Foundation, so please indicate “challenge grant” on the memo portion of your check. Find more information online at accacares.org. ACCA has been helping families for more than 40 years, and we all can be thankful for their wonderful work.
There’s lots to be thankful for this year, across the nation and locally. Of course, I am thankful for the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. And I am thankful that the election was held peacefully. Virginia may not have been such a battleground since the Civil War, as televised campaign ads replaced the cacophony of rifle shots. Virginia also sent former governor Tim Kaine to the United States Senate, and re-elected Congressmen Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly to the House of Representatives. Moran and Connolly represent Mason District precincts. The challenge for all those elected earlier this month will be to address the polarization of our nation and the consequences of sequestration. Campaigning is the easy part of politics; it’s governance that’s hard!
Other blessings for which to give thanks:
• The Bailey’s Community Shelter and Shelter House provide more than just a place for homeless persons to sleep and shower. The non-profit organizations, Volunteers of America Chesapeake and Shelter House respectively, run the facilities and provide daily programs that help with job skills, mental health counseling, and finding permanent housing. It’s a daunting challenge, and the non-profit organizations deserve our support. Log on to voachesapeake.org or shelterhouse.org for more information.
• The Safe Haven program at First Christian Church of Falls Church provides a drop-in day program on Tuesdays and Thursdays for homeless persons. Run almost entirely by volunteers, Safe Haven is a wonderful example of the community identifying a need and coming together to provide a hot lunch, ESL classes, and other needed services. The program runs on a shoestring, and welcomes additional support. Log on to fccfc.org, and click on Safe Haven for more information.
• Our Fairfax County public safety agencies – police, fire and rescue, emergency operations, and communications – serve us 24/7. They always are on call, and do a superb job, protecting during emergencies, and preserving our safety and security as a low crime county any time.
I’m sure you can add many other blessings to this quick list. May you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving.