Tuesday, January 27, 2015

20 years later, a client writes to say thank you

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We received a very touching note from a client who stayed at our McKenna House program way back in 1994. That's right, 21 years ago.

Michael had been drinking or using drugs since the age of 13. By the time he made his way to the McKenna house, he was 33 years old. McKenna House is a program dedicated to helping single, homeless men recover from addiction, find a job, and build structure and purpose back into their lives. It is still in operation today.



Michael shared with us that it took him four total tries to finally beat addiction. But he gave tremendous thanks and credit to the staff of the McKenna House for believing in him and giving him the confidence in himself, as well as pushing him hard to save his money and work hard. He left the program sober, employed, and with more than $3,000 saved in the bank. He said it was the longest he had ever gone sober since he was 13. Feeling inspired? You can make a donation directly to the McKenna House right now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Redskins' Darrel Young, #36, Makes a Play for our Annual Coat Drive

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Swaths of burgundy and gold were bursting out of the multipurpose room of St. Francis Xavier Church, where our Joseph’s Coats of Many Colors Coat Closet is located. And for a good reason.

On January 22, The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, along with fullback Darrel Young, #36, donated more than 40 heavy duty coats (each costing upwards of $200), boxes of thermal shirts and sweatshirts, as well as a $10,000 check to help sustain the coat drive in the future. 

These donations to Joseph’s Coats of Many Colors Coat Drive and Coat Closet, which last provides winter gear to local men, women and children, are a huge boost in making sure everyone in need can stay warm. Last year, the coat drive collected and distributed over 9,000 coats.

"Partnerships like the one we have with the Redskins keep our programs going," Father John said. "We wouldn't be able to serve the number of many people as we do without their support."

Darrel Young, along with Mary Kellar of the Kellar Family Foundation, presented the check to Father John Enzler and Deacon Jim Nalls.

“You see so many people on the street without jackets, and so many kids who are cold who go to school without coats. It’s cold up here [in the Washington, DC region], so any opportunity I have to help them out with a coat or jacket, I will,” Young said.

Young, who was also named the Redskins’ Man of the Year for community involvement and service, wants to make an impact in the lives of the people he meets.

“You want them walk away and think, ‘they made me feel better about who I am today,’” Young said.

The Redskins coats also come with a touch of nostalgia – many of the garments donated were once used by players themselves. Future coat owners may find that they are donning a coat formerly belonging to one of their favorite sports figures.


Have a coat to donate or know someone who could benefit from a coat this winter? There’s still time!

We’re collecting coats on Friday, February 13 at St. Patrick’s Church (4101 Norbeck Road) in Rockville and at Catholic Charities (855 Main Street) in Prince Frederick. Our coat closet will be open on Saturday, February 14, in the multipurpose room at St. Francis Xavier Church.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Just in time: New shoes as the first snow of 2015 falls

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To be honest, we weren’t sure if anyone would show up.

Back on December 22, we hosted a Christmas Dinner for our St. Maria’s Meals Program (formerly referred to as our Dinner Van Program) clients, served inside at our headquarters at 924 G Street, NW. Two generous donors, Jim and Cece Koons agreed to purchase a pair of shoes for everyone who came our Christmas dinner. Dinner guests received a voucher to Payless ShoeSource to redeem those new shoes.

Now, on the date of redemption – January 6 – the first snowfall of the season was in full blast. And yet, at 8:30 am, on a day when our low-barrier shelters were going to be staying open all day due to the weather, there was a line of men and women waiting around the corner at the shoe store at 12th and G Streets, NW.

“I woke up this morning and said, ‘Lord, just hold off on that snow until I can get a new pair of shoes’,” one gentleman said with a big grin on his face. Another man said, “Just in time!” as he lifted his worn pair to show a few sizable holes in the bottom.

Staff went literally 'above and beyond' to help out their first
customers of the day.
More than 65 people were able to get a new pair of shoes and socks from the store, who partnered with us in the endeavor. We owe a big shout out of thanks to the staff of the Payless ShoeSource, who though short-staffed due to the snow, were very warm and welcoming. At least two of the staff had commutes of more than an hour and a half to make it in time to open the store. And of course, none of it would be possible without the generosity of Jim and Cece Koons who bought each pair of shoes.