Following are remarks made on April 12, 2023 by ACCA President Sue Mairena at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Good afternoon, Chairman McKay and Board Members. I am Sue Mairena, President of ACCA (Annandale Christian Community for Action) now in its 55th year of partnership with the County providing a wide range of services for our neighbors in need in the Annandale, Lincolnia, Bailey’s Crossroads and Culmore areas of Fairfax County. The services ACCA provides are divided into 2 major categories. One is the Child Development Center (CDC) and the other is our Human Service Ministry (HSM). I will be speaking about HSM.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your support of ACCA in the past and look forward to your continued partnership with ACCA in the future.
The HSM programs include family emergency assistance, emergency food and hygiene products, pick-up and delivery of furniture for needy families, and transportation to medical appointments.
Other initiatives that ACCA supports are:
- Rebuilding Together (housing rehabilitation program)
- The Annandale CROP Hunger Walk
- Meals On Wheels
- Scholarships for students with disabilities
- The Homework Club and
- Just Neighbors
We need the County’s continued support in this fiscal year’s budget and future ones as well. The need for assistance is not going away, and is increasing daily. For instance:
Family Emergency Assistance provided $6.65M in assistance for rent, utility bills, prescriptions and other needs during the past 2.5 years in addition to its normal operating budget of $300K and all with volunteer support. For 2022 FEA accounted for 40% of our operating budget providing $3.3M in assistance to 348 households which include 989 individuals. The need continues! During the first 4 months of 2023 the demand for our services outpaced our budget and we were forced to go back to pre-pandemic funding levels.
ACCA Food Pantry volunteers deliver nutritious food and other essentials for healthy living to needy families and individuals in our community. Many of these neighbors do not have transportation to visit a food pantry. ACCA volunteers receive information from the CSP staff and then make the deliveries. In 2022, the Food Pantry assisted 2,802 individuals and 941 families a level higher than 2019! In the month of February this year we collected over 2,800 lbs of food and all of it was gone within a month! With the decrease in SNAP benefits, we continue to see a greater demand for this vitally important service.
Last year, our furniture teams delivered 505 items to 195 persons in 61 needy households. This work was accomplished by 75 volunteers, who worked on 10 teams. Through partnerships and sharing of resources with other community partners, we can help our neighbors provide a safe and comfortable home for their families.
ACCA continues to participate in Fairfax County initiatives such as prevention of hypothermia, ending homelessness, and encouraging interfaith dialogue.
I would like to close by saying the need for assistance in our County has always been there. The need now continues despite the ending of the pandemic. Our volunteers will continue helping as many of our neighbors in need as possible. We ask for the County’s continued support in this fiscal year’s budget and future ones to make our programs possible.
Lastly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Penny Gross and her administration for her contribution and tireless efforts advocating for the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. She will be sorely missed!!
With your continued support, and our incredible volunteers, ACCA will be able to continue its critical mission.
We appreciate your consideration and all the work you do for our County.