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Monday, January 21, 2013

Children work on crafts to benefit the needy on MLK Day

Volunteers fill the JCC gym for the MLK National Day of Service.

More than 500 people took part in “Give Together: A Family Volunteer Day” at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Fairfax Jan. 21 to commemorate Martin Luther King Day. That event, also held in Herndon and Lorton, was organized by Volunteer Fairfax.

Children, teens, and adults at the JCC made tote bags and assembled hygiene kits for the homeless and created cards for children in hospitals through the Sunshine Mail Foundation. “Kids love to get the cards. The messages are uplifting so they know people care about them,” said Rachael Neenan of the foundation. 

Isaac Stern (left), a student at Lanier Middle School, and Charlie Dziedzic, a student at Kilmer Middle School work on the Beads of Hope project.
Other volunteers made colorful bracelets and wrote thoughtful notes for hospitalized children through the Beads of Hope Project; selected poems to paste in cards they decorated for U.S. troops through an organization called A Million Thanks; and made scarves for the homeless to be distributed by Facets, a Fairfax-based nonprofit aimed at helping the needy.

There were 1,500 homeless people in Fairfax County last year, and the fastest growing group is homeless children, says Melissa Edwards, Facet’s volunteer manager.

Sisters Thara and Mithra Venkatesan of Herndon.
At the end of the program at the JCC, children had a chance to reflect on their experiences and made “heart people” with statements about what they accomplished or learned. 

Some of the cards for the troops made by children.

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