The Facts Behind Senior Hunger

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Nearly one in every six seniors in America  faces the threat of hunger  and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of  more than $130 billion every year  due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger. Senior hunger is an expansive issue that requires an understanding of exactly what constitutes a senior being “hungry,” the issues that stem from senior hunger, and how seniors who are hungry can be helped. To understand the concept of seniors being hungry, you must understand what it means to be “food insecure.” When you are food insecure, it means that there is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain...
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ACTS Partners with Birdies for Charity for Dominion Energy Charity Classic

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From now until October, ACTS will be participating in a charitable fundraising program offered by the Dominion Energy Charity Classic . The program, called Birdies for Charity Presented by TowneBank, will pay us a 10% bonus on the funds that we generate! When you donate through Birdies for Charity, we receive your donation plus the 10% bonus. Birdies for Charity offers the option to gift a flat amount or an amount based on the number of birdies made by PGA TOUR Champions players at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in October (a birdie is one stroke under par). PGA TOUR Champions players made 789 birdies at the last year’s tournament. So as an example, if you donated $0.10 per birdie in 2017 your total donation would have equaled $78.90, to which the PGA TOUR adds the additional 10% bonus. If you would like to make your donation online, please click...
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SAAM VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Edward McGovern

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM),  ACTS Sexual Assault Services  will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight features Edward McGovern, ACTS Sexual Assault Services Volunteer of the Year. Ed not only volunteers his time on our hotline, he is also a powerful speaker, which has enabled ACTS to connect with an audience that is typically hard to reach. In addition, Ed serves on the Sexual Assault Awareness Month committee and represents ACTS at community outreach events. According to Terry Swirchak, Community Educator for ACTS Sexual Assault Services; “Ed is kind, humble, gracious, empathetic and willing to put himself out there in an effort to help others. Those who have worked with Ed know him to be a great teammate and someone who...
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ACTS Celebrates Volunteers with 2018 Appreciation Dinner

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On Tuesday, April 17th, ACTS honored its organization-wide group of volunteers by holding a dinner at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Woodbridge. The event was catered by Touch of Class Catering, and volunteers, board members, and staff alike spent the evening solving mystery-themed puzzles as well as providing special recognition to those who greatly contributed to ACTS' mission during the previous year. The departmental award winners this year were: Mark Victorson : Volunteer of the Year for Helpline Bob Chamberlin and Jeff Cole: Volunteers of the Year for the Hunger Prevention Center Joline Doedens-Combs: Volunteer of the Year for Domestic Violence Service's Court Program Edward McGovern: Volunteer of the Year for Sexual Assault Services   The Howard Horner Award Winner for 2018 was Kathleen "Kathy" Sweeney. This award, which is presented to a non-board volunteer who traditionally has at least five years of active volunteer service, is the most prestigious award that ACTS...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Iris Coleman

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM),  ACTS Sexual Assault Services  will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  It is never easy to hear someone’s story of sexual assault. This is what Iris Coleman has been doing over the last 2 ½ years as a Volunteer Crisis Listener for the ACTS Sexual Assault Hotline. Sometimes, Iris is the first person the survivor tells about their assault. Her job is to let the caller know that she is there to listen, believe them, and provide support. Sometimes support means offering resources, such as how to reach ACTS Sexual Assault Services. Other times it involves helping the person to make their own decision as to whether or not to seek medical attention, or involve the police. But often, listening...
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ACTS Introduces Traumatic Death Support Group

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Death due to a sudden or traumatic event can raise a number of complex issues for the survivors. The grief process is often very different from an expected or anticipated death. Bereavement is often intensified, since there is little to no opportunity to prepare for the loss, say good-bye, or address unfinished business.  ACTS Traumatic Death Survivor support group is a free, confidential, non-judgmental peer led support group, whose goal is to provide a safe environment for those who have experienced a traumatic loss. It is an opportunity for participants to give and receive support with others who have experienced the traumatic death of a loved one.    Anyone who has lost a friend, family member, or significant other in a traumatic death situation is invited to attend the bi-monthly meetings.  For more information, including meeting time and location, call ACTS 703-441-8606 ext. 214.   
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The Women's Empowerment Center Gets a Makeover

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On April 10, ACTS' Housing Program held a special open house to celebrate all the work that was accomplished at our Women's Empowerment Center. Members of the community, the ACTS Board, and the Trade Partners that made the feat possible were invited to attend, and a reception followed. The renovations will bring some big changes to the programs offered there, but... Just what is the Women's Empowerment Center? The Center is a special part of ACTS Housing Services.  It is designed specifically to help women who have been homeless transition into stable living on their own.  When a single woman, or even  a woman with kids, becomes homeless, friends and  family will often take her in for the short term.  However, long term stability can be difficult to find.  More often than not, the woman may lack the resources to make it on her own right away. The Center is...
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SAAM Volunteer Spotlight of the Week: Paige Meade

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For the month of April, nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), ACTS Sexual Assault Services will highlight the work of several of our program volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to support survivors of sexual violence.  This week’s Volunteer Spotlight highlights Paige Meade. Paige first learned of ACTS Sexual Assault Services in 2006, when she joined a survivor’s support group to help her work through the aftermath of a violent sexual assault that happened in Manassas in 1992.  “I was at my lowest, and the group welcomed me and helped me work though long-buried issues,” says Paige.  “I’m not sure what I would have done without that support, so I believe it’s important for me to give back to my community.”  Currently, Paige volunteers 96 hours per month. She is routinely on call for hospital accompaniment visits to provide support during the sometimes-lengthy forensic exam....
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Not Your Average Joe’s Sponsors ACTS

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Throughout the month of March, Not Your Average Joe’s, located in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, hosted a fundraising event for all of ACTS’ programs. On Tuesdays, the restaurant would donate 20% of the total purchase of a meal (minus tip, tax, and alcohol) to ACTS if its patrons mentioned our organization. This is part of the charitable wing of Not Your Average Joe’s called “Not Your Average Cause.” Local Joe’s restaurants pick charities that serve in their community and give back in a variety of ways. According to Donald Bloss, Assistant General Manager of the Woodbridge location, “One of our mandates as a company is to give back to the community.  ACTS, being a local organization with a fairly broad reach was a great choice for us.  We were able to meet some new folks, provide them the experience we are known for, and were able to contribute to...
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#MeToo: 25 years ago in Prince William County

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According to Susan Sullivan, Prevention Campaign Specialist for The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), “With the #MeToo movement transforming the way our society is talking about the issue of sexual violence, the theme of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), Embrace Your Voice, feels like a perfect fit.” The voice you will hear below is that of Paige, a former ACTS client and current volunteer .  In 1992 a man followed me home from work and broke into the basement of my dad’s townhouse in Manassas.  I was 19.  It was my dad’s birthday.  These are the facts that are easy to recount.  Harder to tell is what one human being has to do to another to earn two (two!) life sentences in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  But I did tell those things – to the police, and eventually in a courtroom to secure those two life sentences.  Afterward?  I packaged up those awful facts and tried...
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Construction of the Hunger Prevention Center is Underway!

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We are very pleased to announce that our Hunger Prevention Center, which is an expansion of our food pantry operations, will officially open in June and construction will begin this week! This newest addition to ACTS will be a site where we will be able to store more food and make the process for our clients who receive food so much easier. In order to facilitate this new change, our Food Pantry operations will be limited throughout the month of April.  WHAT TO EXPECT During the closing of the Food Pantry, we will still be providing food to our clients. They will be given Emergency Bags of food, but no produce or meat will be distributed. While we are closed we will not be accepting ANY donations at the food pantry.  Donation drop off times will resume tentatively on May 29th.  Once the Hunger Prevention Center is operational, it will mean that our clients will have...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Alexis

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Helpline is a free and confidential 24/7 crisis service. Since the Helpline does not close, it is crucial that there are an adequate number of staff and volunteers to cover the Helpline at all times. There are certain times of day that callers tend to call in more frequently and more listeners are needed during those times. The topics of conversation are varied and listeners need to have the ability to discuss different types of crises. Volunteers are always appreciated. Alexis is an intern for the Helpline. She has to complete 120 hours for her internship and is more than halfway done at the time of this writing. Alexis has been willing to do her internship hours based on the needs of the Helpline. Whether that means a shift that begins at 5 AM or at 5 PM. She has a full-time job and she goes above and beyond to...
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How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

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Last year, ACTS Domestic Violence Services initiated the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) to help train Prince William County officers how to respond to situations involving domestic violence. The LAP is a multi-pronged intervention program that consists of an evidence-based tool called the  Lethality  Screen that helps law enforcement more clearly assess a victim’s risk of intimate partner homicide, and an accompanying referral process that proactively connects victims to community-based domestic violence services. The Screen is adapted from Dr. Campbell’s Danger Assessment, a screening instrument used by clinicians and counselors to assess a victim’s risk of being killed by an intimate partner (Campbell, 1986). The LAP aims to translate clinical research on  lethality  predictors into practical tools that will help first responders respond more effectively to dangerous and potentially lethal incidents of domestic violence.  As seen in:  Domestic violence has been found to constitute the single largest category of police calls in some cities. When...
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Be Part of the Change with ACTS' Annual Membership Drive!

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Over 80,000 residents of Prince William County look to ACTS for assistance.    When you join ACTS:   You can directly help your community.   You can be there for your neighbors and children today and tomorrow.  You provide food for your neighbors, ensure they have a roof over their heads, provide healing for those who have been abused, and offer hope to those who are in despair. BECOME A MEMBER NOW Together, as a part of the ACTS Team, we are improving lives. Consider the following true story to understand the impact your donation has for your neighbors.  Approximately nine months ago, a victim of domestic violence walked into the Emergency Assistance office for both financial and food assistance. During her case management session, she disclosed her husband had recently passed away after physically abusing her for years. She added she was facing foreclosure on her home, and felt depressed....
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Safeway Benefits ACTS with Company-Sponsored Giving

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On February 21st at Safeway’s Lanham, MD headquarters, Safeway employees presented checks to representatives from different nonprofit organizations in the Maryland and Northern Virginia areas. ACTS was one of the 19 recipients to receive funding that day, and CEO Steven Liga was in attendance during the ceremony. “Throughout the year, Safeway’s more than 12,000 employees enthusiastically participate in company-sponsored giving and volunteerism programs,” said Jim Perkins, Safeway, Eastern Division President. “We are so proud of our employees, whose generosity and caring truly demonstrate the Safeway spirit of giving.” The grants were funded through the charitable contributions of Safeway employees, and the employees themselves nominated the organizations to receive funding. Like most stories of charitable giving at ACTS, this story started with one individual who wanted to make a difference in our area. Brian Christensen, Safeway’s Assistant Sales Manager, volunteered with ACTS and was so struck by the work we do...
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ACTS and Image Church Gear Up for 8th Annual IWALK

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Plans for the 8th Annual IWALK for ACTS are already underway! ACTS and Image Church are excited to host this year’s 5K and family festival at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center. This central hub for shopping and dining in our community provides a perfect backdrop for the event and offers maximized exposure for raising funds and awareness for ACTS’ vital work.   The event will be on October 5, 2018.   More information is available on our event website  www.iwalkforacts.com   Last year's event drew thousands of people together for a day of fun, fitness, and fellowship, and in the process, raised nearly $100,000 for ACTS to help local families struggling to make ends meet.  Another big thank you to our 2017 Sponsors!   Currently, we are looking for Sponsors and Volunteers for this year's event!  The Sponsorship package is on the website,  http://www.iwalkforacts.com/sponsors/   If you are interested in sponsoring...
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A Special Winter Food Drive!

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Happy New Year! We hope that 2018 has been great for you so far, and we wanted to share that we have some pretty neat goals in store this year too! ACTS' Hunger Prevention Center, which is an expansion of our food pantry operations, will officially open in June. It will be a site where we will be able to store more food and make the process for our clients who receive food so much easier. But what's a food pantry without some great produce? That's why we're introducing this online drive so that we can help continue  to eliminate hunger for our neighbors in Prince William County, and we hope that you can help.  We strive to provide healthy food to those we serve. In the summer, we receive tons of donated fresh produce from local farms. Once the growing season ends, its hard to source produce. We're running...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Byron Ross

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In this month's Volunteer Spotlight, we are highlighting the selfless work of Byron Ross, who volunteers with the Children's Program for ACTS' Domestic Violence Services Program . The Children's Program provides a support group to youths ages 5-17, and its focus is on building self-esteem, growing problem-solving skills and exploring one's feelings. April Vandover, who is the Children's Program Specialist, describes Byron as a great asset to her program; "He has volunteered for over a year, working well with youth of all ages but he shines with the teen group. Byron has an effortless way with connecting to youth, his guidance helps those around him open up, share, and feel comfortable. Byron's efforts with the teenagers has not gone unnoticed by ACTS or those in the group.  Any time he is away (which is an extremely rare occasion), his presence is truly missed. Part of the success of the teen's...
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ACTS Honors IWALK '17 Volunteers & Sponsors

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On January 24th, ACTS hosted its very first Happy Hour to honor those who served during 2017's IWALK 5k and family festival . Among the guests were members of Image Church , IWALK's largest sponsor, as well as representatives from different companies and organizations around Prince William County who made IWALK a success last year. CEO Steven Liga toasted Wegman's, Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, ACTS staff and volunteers, Kate Shifflett and Board Member Beth Seidler among many others for their time and efforts in bringing in almost $90,000 in much-needed funding to all of ACTS programs. Lula Kelly, Director of Housing for ACTS, commented, "It was a quaint event and [ACTS' staff] was able to share more about the programs we have to our sponsors. When you're around the people from Image Church, you get the sense that these people do good things from their soul, and it's very...
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2018 Grammys Help To Bring in $10,000 to Helpline

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On January 28th, the 2018 Grammy Awards aired and were held in New York City. Rap artist Logic's song 1-800-273-8255 , which is named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Song of the Year and Best Music Video. In addition, Logic performed the song during the broadcast accompanied on stage by a group of people personally affected by suicide loss, suicide attempts, and ideation. Given the surge of calls that were expected, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline asked call centers across the nation to be prepared for a higher rate of calls from January 28th through the 29th and the weeks following the Grammys. In return, the Lifeline would provide a one-time fund of $10,000 to each of these centers. ACTS' Helpline , which is associated with the Lifeline, was one such call center that participated in this request, and was awarded $10,000 for...
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