Housing and Community Services of Northern Virginia (HCSNV), based in Springfield, was one of 24 local nonprofits to receive donations from United Way of the National Capital Area's (United Way NCA) inaugural Shoebox Project.
Volunteers assembled, decorated and sorted more than 2,000 shoeboxes that were filled with personal care and emergency preparedness items. Local nonprofit organizations will then distribute them to their communities.
HCSNV’s mission is to prevent homelessness and promote financial self-sufficiency and they serve more than 400 clients per year. Clients include young parents, the elderly and people with disabilities.
“The Shoebox Project certainly dovetails nicely with the work we do. Having these shoeboxes is an ideal resource to give to these families facing hardship, when nearly every penny of income is going toward rent or utilities. They are just struggling to make ends meet on every level," said Development Officer Melanie Doon.
"Often these families are debating food vs. rent vs. electricity, and truly find it difficult to allocate any of their dollars for even some of the most basic needs. The shoeboxes are a great resource to provide for that purpose.”
Other organizations in the area to receive shoeboxes are Carpenter's Shelter in Old Town, HomeAid in Chantilly, Northern Virginia Family Service in McLean and Shelter House in Falls Church.
“The Shoebox Project offers a creative and compassionate way for caring communities to get vital items into the hands of individuals and families who are homeless or are struggling to simply pay the rent and electric bill each month,” said Bill Hanbury, United Way NCA president and CEO.
“Filled with items most of us take for granted, each shoebox is a personalized act of kindness and comfort that lets a vulnerable person in your neighborhood know they are not invisible or alone.”