As usual, I struggled until the end with this. In the past, I’ve done my RAK for a fire department but this year I really wanted to do something different. I’ve not had opportunities really hit me in the face as they have with other people, so for the last couple of weeks, I’ve really been rolling different ideas around in my head until right before Christmas when a local magazine published in Warrenton gave me my “Ah Ha” moment!
There was a featured article about the Fauquier Family Shelter who provides short-term, transitional housing and services to homeless families. They have two facilities, the Emergency Shelter and the Transitional Housing center, it is the only shelter the entire county. Their website has a “help now” page which lists all the ways to donate time, money, items, Amazon wishlist items, and business sponsors. I called and spoke to one of the young volunteers who indicated they had recently received a few boxes of items that hadn’t been opened yet so she didn’t know what they needed but that they ALWAYS need grocery gift cards. The next day I arrived at their door and provided their Case Manager, Melanie with five $50 Food Lion gift cards – she was THRILLED and so thankful! We discussed the history of the shelter; the land which was provided by the Sheriff’s department (located behind the shelter), and the homing trends over the last few years. Sadly, due to a lack of affordable housing for low-income families in Fauquier County, there has been an increase in “baby boomer” aged folks who have either lost both their jobs and homes or where social security just won’t cover expenses.
I am truly glad I found this opportunity for my RAK; Melanie seemed to be truly dedicated to what she does for her residents as was reflected by her attitude along with the extremely clean and well-organized facility run by her and her staff!
– Linda Mechlin