Families Still Need Your Help This Holiday Season

If you are still looking for ways to help local families over the holidays, the City of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services has some great opportunities for you. To make the holiday distribution, your items should be dropped of or mailed in by this Friday, December 17th.

  • Grocery Cards: with rising food prices, many families are struggling to make ends meet. These cards will help us ensure that our kids, elderly and disabled can have food on the table.
  • Gift Cards: Maybe you can remember being a teen or have tried to buy for a teen lately-it’s hard. They have wants and needs, yet can be very difficult to buy for. Teens in foster care are in
    the same situation. They enjoy the holidays as much as others, but are often overlooked in favor of younger children. We will be happy for your donation of gift cards to stores such as Best Buy, Target and Old Navy, in denominations of $25 and $50.
  • Jackets, hats and gloves/mittens: The line from the holiday song sums it up-”baby, it (will be) cold outside.” Foster kids, at-risk kids, and others need coats. There are great sales and you can
    keep someone warm this year.
  • Toys: you may have been hitting the sales and couldn’t resist buying a few toys. With our partner, Community Partners for Children, we will be distributing toys to over 300 families. We especially need toys for children under the age of 4 and for those aged 10-12. However, we would be grateful for any toys that you purchase.
  • You can also donate a via online echeck

If you still have toys or apparel items your want to donate after December 17th, you can still drop them off at DCHS offices at any time. Please drop items off at:

Community Resources Program
Department of Community & Human Services
2525 Mt. Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301.

Giving in a Bad Economy, Mayor Euille’s Unity Breakfast, Recognizing SCAN and More: This Week’s Latest ACTion

  • With the state of the economy, are you reconsidering giving to your favorite charities during the holidays? Jane Collins wrote an excellent column for her blog, Get Out and Give Back.  In it, she offers advice about donating despite the times.  Check it out!
  • Also read Collins’s coverage of Mayor Euille’s Unity Breakfast, an annual tradition that began in 2003.  ACT Executive Director John Porter attended, stressing to the crowd to remember that like the body’s need for exercise, philanthropy should be a constant activity because it enriches the community.
  • Find out about the work of Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia on the LocalKicks blog.  The 8th Annual Toast to Hope, held last month, raised funds for the various programs the foundation supports, which aid numerous children and families in the area.
  • Attention Alexandria Residents: The City wants to hear from you! If you would like to voice your opinion on transportation projects and priorities, be sure to attend this Wednesday’s meeting at Beatley Library from 7-9 PM.  For more information, visit the City’s Transportation Page or call (703) 746-4025.
  • Have a passion for the Arts? The Commission for the Arts is looking for volunteers with any experience or interest in literature, music and other forms to help make decisions on grants for the 2012 fiscal year.  To learn more, visit the Commission’s website or contact the Office of the Arts at (703) 746-5588.

It’s a Wonderful (2nd) Life: Adopt a Pet at AWLA

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) is promoting “It’s a Wonderful (2nd) Life” opportunity for the felines in its care this season.  “In keeping with the annual holiday tradition of the Frank Capra movie classic, AWLA is hoping that animal lovers will find their own special angel “Clarence” to add to their family.”

There are cats and kittens available for adoption and need a chance for a second life in your home.  Adoption fees have been greatly reduced to FREE for some cats!  As a cat owner (my wee little Fiona and the Mighty Mighty Mac Daddy are both from rescue shelters) I can speak from experience that adopted cats overflow with sweetness and love once they are safe and secure in a new home.

“Just as George Bailey found his angel Clarence in the movie, adopters can find their own heavenly feline friend and provide a loving forever home to an animal in need. The AWLA staff believes that “Everytime a bell rings, a kitty finds a new home” and will ring a bell every time a cat gets adopted to celebrate.”

Alexandria may be a dog-centric city and that’s a good thing, but kitties need homes too!  There is no reason dogs and cats can’t live together in peace and harmony.  With your help, and your new cat adoption, you can be a living example of that peace and harmony during this joyous season.

All standard application/adoptions processes, rules and procedures apply.

Giving Thanks in Alexandria: This Week’s Latest ACTion

  • During the holiday season, the Carpenter’s Shelter needs volunteers more than ever to help serve warm meals and assist in other services.  To participate, visit  their Volunteer page.  Monetary donations are also welcome in their Alternative Holiday Giving Program.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, you can put your feet to good use by running in the 2010 Alexandria Turkey Trot. Race organizers will be collecting food donations for ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization serving Alexandria’s needy. Please bring two nonperishable food items (cans, boxes) on race day. You may also make an optional cash donation when you register for the race.
  • The D.C.-based Capital Area Food Bank asks for your donations to provide meals for its 2,800 low-income families and senior citizens.  To learn more and donate, click here.
  • The Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless has a similar meal donation program called the Thanksgiving Basket Drive.   Your gift will feed those at Sullivan House, or will go toward the Adopt-A-Family program.
  • The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) recently announced that they’ll host their own “Black Friday,” when black and partially-black pets’ adoption costs will be greatly discounted in hopes that the animals will find a home. “The number of pets brought to us is up significantly this year, and they just keep coming,” remarked the League’s Executive Director Martha C. Armstrong. To learn more, visit the AWLA website or call (703) 746-4774.
  • Shopping on “Black Friday”? The City of Alexandria is offering free parking in all City-owned garages on Friday, November 26. Free parking is a special incentive for shoppers to visit Old Town to make their holiday purchases. Dozens of merchants are opening early, some as early as 6 a.m., and offering deep discounts. Find out more at VisitAlexandriaVA.com.

Contact Volunteer Alexandria for more Thanksgiving related volunteer opportunities.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Shop at Food Matters Thursday to Support ALIVE!

On Thursday, November 18th, Food Matters in Cameron Station will donate 10% of its sales to ALIVE! in recognition of, and thanks to, the many ALIVE! volunteers who make a difference in our community day after day. Support a worth cause while enjoying farm fresh food and great live music

How You Can Help

Shop at Food Matters in Cameron Station tomorrow

When: Thursday, November 18th, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Where: Food Matters in Cameron Station, 4906 Brenman Park Drive. Directions

Food Matters will also have live music (with no cover charge) of singer-songwriter Angie Miller from 6-8 p.m. Food Matters is located in the Cameron Station neighborhood of Alexandria at 4906 Brenman Park Drive. For more information, call Food Matters at 703-461-3663.

ALIVE! (ALexandrians InVolved Ecumenically) is a nonprofit organization that serves thousands of Alexandrians annually with shelter; low-cost early childhood education and childcare; financial help for rent, utilities, medical care and other critical needs; emergency food; and deliveries of donated furniture and houseware. More than 700 volunteers a year help ALIVE! fulfill the mission to put faith and love into action. Visit ALIVE!’s program overview page to learn more about their programs and how you can help.