Helen says of WFCM, "This place is like my right arm in my life. It motivates me to go on." After working for 23 years as supervisor seamstress, Helen lost her job when the company closed. She became depressed about situation since she was too young to retire. While Helen was looking for work, WFCM provided emergency utility and mortage assistance so she could keep her home. Now Helen is working again as a seamstress, but makes less than half the income she made previously. Cheerfully, Helen affirms, "People are amazed that I am able to support myself and my daughter in college at Virginia Tech." As she considers her blessings, she is thankful for her health, her ability to work, and the food assistance from the WFCM Pantry - all which allow her to care for her family.
Mary has been a WFCM client for one year. She has three children ranging in age from 15 to 2 years old. Mary works 38-40 hours a week cleaning houses and is grateful for the variety of food she is able to select each month in the Food Pantry. Vegetables, soup and pasta are staples in her family and when she is able to obtain these items at the Pantry, her food dollar stretches at the grocery store. Mary also appreciates some convenience foods like canned pasta which simplify dinner prep after a hard day at work. Holding a can of garbanzo beans, Mary says she even gets to pick out items for herself. The referral Mary receives for clothing at the WFCM Thrift Store helps the whole family, especially her youngest son, who is constantly growing. In speaking in general about WFCM, Mary says, " I really appreciate everything you do for us. Thank you! "
Marissa was referred to WFCM by the case manager at Shelter House. Working with Shelter House, they were able to find housing in our service area for Marissa. Jonathan has income as a driver and Marissa isn't able to work due to an injury but they will be able to afford their living expenses on his income. She is working with a therapist to improve her medical situation and hopes to return to work someday. WFCM is supporting this family with monthly food and quarterly clothing assistance. WFCM and Shelter House will continue to work together to secure their future.
Martha is a mother with five children and has been on her own for about six years now after separating (on and off) from her husband. She collects scrap metal and recycling to allow her a more flexible schedule to care for her children. She has been receiving minimal child support as well as food stamps to make ends meet.
Martha has worked diligently to keep her children with her. This past summer, when she was renting a room and went into foreclosure, she was forced to seek a new place. In the meantime, the children stayed with her ex-husband while she sought a new rental. Unbeknownst to her, he left for New Jersey, taking the three youngest children while leaving the older two with his sister. The oldest, in distress, was able to reach Martha. She desperately tried calling him, but he would not return her calls. Martha feared that he had left without the intention of returning the children.
School started in September. She reached out to WFCM for assistance and spoke to an employee about her concerns. There was a genuine opportunity to share the gospel and Martha received Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. The following week, she participated in the Bible study and prayer group offered by WFCM. To our surprise, the following Wednesday, she returned with joy, as her ex-husband had returned her children. She praised God for His faithfulness and was very grateful. Her life has improved greatly. Her children are all doing well in school and she is now in the process of receiving housing and learning English.
Juan is a single father of three boys. He came to the United States and while his family was waiting to join him, his wife passed away. He brought over his sons. He has worked full time and has struggled to pay his bills on his limited income. He did not want to take his sons out of their high school, so finding a more affordable place to live was out of the question. His twin boys will be graduating from high school this year and attending Northern Virginia Community College in the fall. They have applied and been approved for a housing choice voucher and will be moving to a more affordable place in August. He has been a WFCM client since 2009 and we've provided him with food, clothing and financial assistance with utilities and car repairs.
Rayni was in a bind, needing financial help to quickly move two daughters out of a mold-infested apartment. Where could she turn...? Rayni thought back to November 2005, when she was pregnant with a second child and moving in with her mother to Centreville. "I needed help with baby items," she recalled, so she called the Fairfax County Coordinated Services office. They directed her to us. "WFCM was so kind to find me a crib and set me up with food pantry visits."
Since that time of crisis, Rayni found a good job as a legal assistant/file clerk, and with subsidized housing was managing fine raising her daughters, ages 6 and 18. But as Christmas 2011 approached, she was told her housing vouchers would stop unless she moved. The landlord had neglected promised improvements; her rental didn't pass the public housing agency's inspection. Rayni contacted WFCM, "Without WFCM I don't see how I could have moved. Leah Ann (Furr) stepped in and advocated for us," said Rayni. WFCM was able to apply United Way funding to give partial assistance for the rent and security deposit, and Leah Ann found other resources through the Housing Opportunities Support Teams network. Rayni used the funds to secure a clean, safe place, just a half mile away, so no change of school was required.
Rayni's family was also offered visits to WFCM's food pantry again and was given clothing vouchers to shop at the thrift store. She appreciates the continued services from WFCM, "I'm just so thankful this group is there," Rayni said, then added, "When I'm back on my feet, I want to give to help others."
Mr. Hyatte has been a WFCM client for 10 years. He lived in Washington, DC and then moved to Virginia in 1972. He said, “ I have never seen a food pantry with this type of setup. This food bank takes care of a multitude of personal needs within my household. The people who work here are excellent and very helpful.” Mr. Hyatte says that he appreciates being able to personally select the food and household items that he needs when he shops in the Food Pantry.