We love the idea of partnering with local organizations that are doing great work in the community, and we hope to encourage community service that makes a difference in people’s lives. The call to serve in the community is especially important at a time of crisis. We are delighted that so many local organizations are doing great work in response to COVID-19. See below for ways to help and take action.
One important note: as we talk about service, it's very important that we remember that immigrants and refugees contribute to our society – enriching our culture, making our society more dynamic, and adding to our economy. They are our neighbors and are often very, very successful. Consider the fact that 28.7% of physicians in the United States are immigrants: immigrants are playing a crucial role in our response to COVID-19. However, it's also important that we realize that some immigrants and refugees, particularly the recently-arrived and those with weak language skills – struggle to make ends meet in expensive Northern Virginia. So even as we appreciate the fact that 45% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants (that's lots of opportunity for us all!), let's come together and serve our neighbors who are in need of support.
Spend Yourself Food Pantry (which is sponsored by Columbia Baptist Church) is a long-time Welcoming Falls Church partner and has an urgent need for support. Consider:
Spend Yourself is working with the Fairfax County Health Department to operate an efficient drive-up and walk-up food distribution effort on Saturdays, with a small, core volunteer team, at its location in Seven Corners. Spend Yourself is not able to accept volunteer support at the moment, but we will let you know of any volunteer needs and look forward to resuming serving there once a month or more.
Comunidad, another long-time partner, typically operates afterschool reading and youth leadership programs at the Willston Multi-Cultural Center, a Fairfax County government community center located behind Target at Seven Corners. But Comunidad has expanded its activities in response to the crisis and is now collecting food daily, that it distributes to families in need on Saturdays. Support Comunidad by:
Comunidad is also accepting volunteer support at the moment at the 3-6pm Drive-thru Food Drive. We also look forward to when members of the community can help Comunidad again as volunteer reading buddies on Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons. Click here for more information.
Finally, the Falls Church Education Foundation, another long-time Welcoming Falls Church partner (and supporter) is mobilizing community support through its Family Assistance Fund in response to the pandemic. The Family Assistance Fund fund-always a great way to give back to the community-is used to support emergency food, shelter and transportation needs for the Falls Church City Public Schools students and families most impacted by the crisis. For information and to donate, click here.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said memorably that,
The time is always right to do what is right. We can start now by doing our small part to treat people with dignity, courtesy, and respect, and to come together to serve our neighbors.
And along with learning and serving together, we hope to live better together, to build a community of neighbors. Also, if you've not already done so, please provide us your contact information to get involved in Welcoming Falls Church.