Ten years ago, 83 year old Bill LaLiberte decided to do something to help area homeless people with the help of his church, First Christian Church of Falls Church. Today, that program called "Safe Haven" has evolved into feeding over 100 people every Thursday year round and Tuesdays during the winter season. Doors are open from 9:00AM-3:00PM both days. Along with serving breakfast and lunch in Fellowship Hall, matrtesses are made available so that the unsheltered can get some much needed rest. Basic medical and referral services are made by Fairfax County Staff.
Safe Haven has expanded recently to include an ESL program for clients who desire to learn English. Volunteer teachers from another local church and materials provided by the Willston Center are the reason the program currently exists.
The primary goals of the Safe Haven program are to provide warm shelter (or cool in the summer), nutritious meals, basic medical and psychological services (made possible through Fairfax County) and generous hospitality. Some formerly homeless regulars also help us with a clothing ministry, sometimes free haircuts, hygeine kits and access to county wide services.
With the unemployment rate at staggering levels amongst the homeless, Safe Haven is grateful for the support and encouragement of local business leaders in the community who take the time to mentor some of our clients.
What is needed? Safe Haven receives a relatively small grant from Fairfax County to keep the doors open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The quality of services and the ability to offer new ones would not be there if not for the generous support of volunteers. Volunteers come from all ages and walks of life. Our oldest volunteer is 91. Besides helping to prepare and serve meals, Evelynda also provides the much needed service of giving great hugs to staff and clients. Our youngest volunteer is Jorge Aparico. Jorge came to us after being ordered by a local judge to do community service. Even after doing his "time", Jorge continues to volunteer because he knows he is making a difference in the lives of other young men like himself. Jorge helps with intake and translation services. We are a better and more productive place because of volunteers like Evelynda and Jorge. As we grow, we need more volunteers like them. Everyone has a gift, please consider sharing yours with Safe Haven.
Even if you are not able to donate your time, there are other things you can do. Donations of warm clothing (especially men's jeans, sweatshirts, sweaters, coats, rain gear, boots and shoes) are always needed. Foods that can be repackaged (individually sealed granola bars, easy to open cans, bottles of water, etc.), as well as kitchen supplies (sponges, rubber gloves, paper towels, etc.) are all desperately needed. In addition, reading and educational materials (in English and Spanish) are also needed.
Please call or email Robert Paxton . He can be reached at (703)532-8220, or firstname.lastname@example.org.