We have so much to be thankful for!
Our first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner at the Lamb Center was a huge success, thanks to all of you! Mary Ann Fuss arrived early and was the last one to leave. I know she must have been exhausted after serving 75+ people not just once but two or even three meals! With all that wonderful food, how could they not want to come back for seconds? Stephanie Maddox and several of her children kept things rolling with refills on cider and warm smiles for all who entered the Lamb Center today. I also have to thank Jane Wilson, Cecilia Yost, Jen Callahan, Judy Kim, Betty Maddox, Julie Roberts, Karen and Maria Manukas, Ian Abner, The Fisher Group and several who I know I’m leaving out but don’t mean to! You know who you are and so do I when I’m not half asleep! It was quite an undertaking, but we pulled it off without any issues to speak of. Arties Great American Restaurants really came through for us! How else would we have managed to get 80 servings of steaming hot mashed potatoes delivered just in time? The food was delicious, and the tremendous job you all did to make this Thanksgiving a special one for the homeless residents of Fairfax was nothing short of amazing.
If you weren’t able to participate in the preparation or serving of this meal, don’t worry, there’s more! H.E.L.P will now be responsible for preparing and serving lunch to the Lamb Center on the first Saturday of every month, beginning in December. Our intention is to serve pizza from Mama Lucia’s, and to top it off with desserts and drinks. If we can get a salad or side veggie in there that would be great too! If you have interest in helping out with a Saturday luncheon, either in DC or at the Lamb Center in Fairfax, please just call or email me so I can communicate with you about what you’d like to do. We certainly need all the help we can get!
Big News! The Brian Shaffer Memorial Fund has brought in so many donations that this Christmas we’re going to be able to purchase twice as much for the children in Fairfax County Homeless Shelters. I have had many requests to be notified as to what and where our donations will be, and I’m thrilled that we have so many people interested in working together with us to make this a great holiday for homeless children. I will be receiving wish lists from three different shelters (possibly four) and I will email everyone who wants a copy of this wish list. If you have already made a donation and you’re interested in learning about where those donations are being utilized, or if you want to work with us over the holidays to distribute the toys, please email me and I’ll put you on the list. I really do need to hear from you if you want to be made a part of this, so let me know as soon as you can!
Finally, I have to apologize for having taken so long to update our web site, but please know that we are as committed as ever to being a part of the solution to the homeless problem in our area. We are excited about the upcoming holiday season and all the joy that we have the power to bring to those in need. Together we can make a difference in the community, and when you watch the NBC news clip that’s linked to the H.E.L.P site; (http://video.nbc4.com/player/?id=188228 <http://video.nbc4.com/player/?id=188228> )
you will have an opportunity to see your work in progress! Thanks for being a part of our small but hard working family; we look forward to seeing you over the holidays!
Until then…Help Everyone Live Peacefully!
– Alex and Deb McPherson
Born prematurely – to a mother in prison, Destiny and her father were forced to live in a shelter for three months, and are still struggling to make ends meet. H.E.L.P has tried to give Destiny and her dad a little support by bringing diapers, clothing and toys. There are thousands of babies out there, just like Destiny.
Children account for about one third of the homeless in the United States. Of those children, one of three has a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, such as post-traumatic stress, by the age of 8, says the President of the National Center on Family Homelessness.
According to a report released by HUD on February 27, 2007, there are over 750,000 people nationwide who have sought shelter at least once in a three month period. Says Michael Stoops, the Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, “Homelessness can happen to anyone.”
Growing up just outside the Nation's Capital, 11 year old Alex McPherson had increasing concern for the homeless she saw struggling each time she took a trip to the city. Alex loved doing "feed the homeless" marathons, where she and her family members put several dozen bag lunches together and distributed them to the men and women they found huddling together near the steps to The Smithsonian or soaking up heat from the grates on the street corners. She felt good about being able to bring joy to those who had so little, and began searching for ways to do more.
HELP began when Ms. Ohman, a 4th grade teacher at Wakefield Forest Elementary School, agreed to support Alex's goal to give other children an opportunity to do something good for their community. Through weekly after-school meetings, Alex and her friends began discussing the problems within the Washington DC and Northern Virginia regions. They also began creating solutions to those problems. Clothing and food drives commenced, and dozens of less fortunate citizens were able to benefit from the kindness and generosity of HELP and all the wonderful Wakefield Forest families.
Two years later, HELP is in full swing at Frost Middle School. Ms. Judith Kim, a science teacher at Frost who devotes her time to supporting HELP, says "I love what it has turned into and the students involved". Alex is really a remarkable young person and I am very eager to see what impact she will make on this world in the future.
To most of us, going to the movies is a typical Friday night activity. To a homeless child, it’s a fantasy. This year H.E.L.P is working towards bringing more privileged children together with the less fortunate ones, by giving them an opportunity to take a child to the movies. We’re actively searching for sponsors who are interested in making this happen. With help from neighborhood movie theaters and some terrific teens, we can spread a little magic to the kids in need.
There are so many ways you can be a part of HELPing your community. Donations of food, clothing, and household items are needed on a case by case basis. If you would like to be notified of families in need, please contact us and we’ll add you to our mailing list.
We are a 501 C3 non-profit incorporated in the State of Virginia, so your cash donations are tax deductible!
We are in real need of adult volunteers, and are also hoping to find some youngsters to step up and open a HELP Club in their school, community, or place of worship.
If you’re interested
in joining H.E.L.P. –
to email us
Or contact us by telephone –
Or by mail –
P.O Box 2371
Fairfax, VA 22031
Our mission to improve the lives of homeless men, women, and children by providing emergency services began with just a few warm hearts and good intentions. With support from incredibly caring Fairfax families and local businesses, H.E.L.P has grown into something powerful enough to bring about substantial change in the community.