Sometimes All It Takes Is 18 People

It’s easy to forget how important our individual actions can be, but if you look around Alexandria closely, you can see people making an impact in the lives of people in need in our community everyday. That is what ACTion Alexandria is all about-helping individual acts make a big impact in our community.

Last week, I heard about ImagineDesign, a Manassas-based design firm giving away a website design to a DC area charity. All you had to do was nominate your favorite charity using their Facebook form.

I also knew that the Center for Alexandria’s Children was trying to figure out how they could afford a redesign of their current website to better meet it’s needs. It was a perfect storm if you will-a local nonprofit needed a website and a local design firm was donating a website to a worthy nonprofit. All we had to do was make sure the Center for Alexandria’s Children was selected as the winner by ImagineDesign.

The Center for Alexandria’s Children is a worthy organization if there ever was one. Their purpose is the elimination of child abuse in the City of Alexandria. The CAC works collaboratively through a public-private partnership to protect children and strengthen families by coordinating the investigation, prosecution, treatment and prevention of child abuse in one safe, child-friendly facility.

So, using email and Facebook to quickly mobilize supporters, 18 people nominated the Center for Alexandria’s Children to win ImagineDesign’s contest, making sure to include personal testimonials describing why they support the CAC.

Thanks to good timing, a great organization, and some help from loyal supporters, The Center for Alexandria’s Children was selected by ImagineDesign as the contest winner, and is well on it’s way to getting the new website it needs.

An important take away from the Center for Alexandria’s Children’s good fortune is that it doesn’t always take hundreds or thousands of people to vote for your project or organization, or thousands of dollars in donations. Sometimes it only takes 18 people to make all the difference in the world.

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

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.