In its 53rd year, ACCA continued to provide high quality childcare and served as a principal source of emergency assistance, including food, furniture, and financial support, for our vulnerable neighbors.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted all our operations to meet the increasing needs of the community while following guidance from local public health agencies. In May, Fairfax County awarded ACCA a $3.12 million grant from its CARES Act funding in order for ACCA to provide rent, utility and food assistance to low income families affected by the pandemic.
The ACCA Child Development Center (CDC) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by remaining open and stepping up to meet the growing need for safe early education with an emphasis on providing services for the children of first responders and essential personnel. Moreover, we took care of 55 school age children, ages 6 to 12 years old. The program served more than 236 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
ACCA’s Nutrition/Hygiene ministry provides nutritious food and other essentials to families and individuals in need in our community. 1,338 families comprised of a total of 4,211 individuals were assisted with a 7 to 10 day food supply or the equivalent in gift cards. An additional 250 families were assisted with a 3 to 5 day supply of food. Due to COVID-19, the last 4 months of the year saw an almost four-fold increase in food requests over normal levels.
In FY2020 the Family Emergency Assistance ministry provided financial assistance to 498 households totaling 1,410 individuals (family members)
for rent or security deposits, utilities, prescription drugs,
medical or dental needs, and miscellaneous purposes.
The Furniture Ministry team delivered 1,442 items to 321 persons in 113 needy households. This work was accomplished by 115 volunteers, who provided 1,907 hours of volunteer labor. Through partnerships and sharing of resources with other community partners, we can help our neighbors to provide a safe and comfortable home for their families. The pandemic had a most negative impact upon our operations. Nevertheless, we have continued to provide services to those in need.
The combined Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield/ACCA Transportation Program provided 535 round-trip rides for medical appointments and other essential errands. During the pandemic the Shepherd’s Center also provided contactless delivery of food for needy clients through Food for Others by Fairfax County. They also instituted a friendly caller program. Volunteers call senior citizens to provide them friendly, caring words of encouragement.
Housing Repair is working year-round with the Rebuilding Express program which focuses on smaller projects since the annual Rebuilding Together day was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The CROP Hunger Walk raised $22,232 in donations for Church World Service, of which $5559 was returned to ACCA for our emergency assistance programs. About 79 walkers and volunteers from ten ACCA churches, the Annandale High School One World Club, and Girl Scout Troop 1122 participated.
Ruffing Scholarships of $4,000 per year for college education were provided to four local students with disabilities.
We continued to participate in Fairfax County initiatives such as prevention of hypothermia, ending homelessness, emergency preparedness and encouraging interfaith dialogue.
We continued our homework club program in partnership with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service this year. Through financial and volunteer support, ACCA assisted refugee children with their schoolwork and helped their parents with their English language skills.
We are working with Just Neighbors to support their operations in the Annandale/Bailey’s Crossroads area. Just Neighbors provides legal services to low-income immigrants who reside in the ACCA service area.
We were fortunate to receive generous donations from the community including numerous individuals, businesses, churches, and community organizations throughout the first 8 months of the year. Starting in March with the onset of COVID-19, we have had an increase in donations from the Boy Scouts, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, Food for Others, the Capital Area Food Bank, churches, Stuff the Bus and many individuals to help meet the increased food needs.
Communications flowed to member churches, community partners and individuals through our website, electronic newsletter, annual report and brochure, Facebook, Volunteer Fairfax and the Catalogue for Philanthropy.
The Development team worked with member churches, individuals and community benefactors, as well as county, state and federal programs to ensure that ACCA has the resources to continue to meet emergency needs and to provide quality early childhood education in our community.
ACCA’s work was made possible by about 500 repeat volunteers and hundreds of one-time volunteers in addition to the staff of the ACCA Child Development Center under the leadership of Isabel Ballivian.