In a few short weeks, classes will end for the summer break on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation and hundreds of children will not be receiving the nutritious and filling breakfasts and lunches they get each weekday when school in is session.

That’s why Running Strong for American Indian Youth® supports the Summer Youth Feeding Program on the reservation, in partnership with the USDA, providing more than 5,200 lunches to more than 250 kids and teens ages 1 to 18 each weekday from early June to mid-August.

“If some of these kids didn’t get this meal, I know they would be going without.” -Megan, one of the SFSP cooks last year.

Megan added that she is glad to have the summer employment “and also to see the little kids smiling and being fed.”


Above: Red Scaffold, one of the rural communities where kids receive summer meals

How it all began

The program first took shape when a teacher on the reservation informed Running Strong staff that many of their students were returning to school after their summer vacation feeling lethargic and having lost weight.

In the course of a year, we developed the program.  Now, every summer we feed children five days a week a several community centers across the Cheyenne River reservation.

All kids have to do is show up, and we provide them with free healthy meals, including milk and fresh fruit.

This year’s plan

This year, Running Strong has already contracted to provide thousands of meals at four locations throughout the reservation – the Cherry Creek and Swift Bird community centers, Red Scaffold Catholic Church and the LaPlante Boys & Girls Club.

The locations are known as “open sites” meaning that any child or teen can simply show up for a free meal – no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if they are a resident of the reservation or just visiting, no hungry child is ever turned away from a Running Strong feeding site.

For 2016, Running Strong is budgeting $5,750 towards the expenses of operating the program including purchasing food and paying salaries for cooks.

Food service manager Stacie Lee tells us that they receive no other funding from other sources to operate the summer food program on the reservation.  That means, without support from Running Strong the program would cease to exist.

“This program is very much needed,” says Cheryl, a cook in the program. “If this program did not take place a lot of students/kids would have went without food.”

Christian Relief Services will hold our Second Annual Golf Classic. All proceeds from this charity tournament benefit Safe Places – long-term transitional housing serving women and children fleeing domestic violence.

“Because no one should have to choose between homelessness and abuse”

Date and Time: Friday, May 19, 2017 – Lunch at NOON. Shotgun start at 2pm

Place:  The Golf Club at Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodbridge Parkway, Leesburg, VA 20176

Format: Scramble

Deadline: All registrations and payments must be received by May 19, 2017Register here or use the downloadable form below.

Christian Relief Services will hold our Second Annual Golf Classic. All proceeds from this charity tournament benefit Safe Places – long-term transitional housing serving women and children fleeing domestic violence.

All entrance fees include green fees, cart, range balls, contests, lunch, dinner, and prizes.

Contests and Prizes ♦ Silent Auction ♦ Goody Bags ♦ 50/50 Raffle

Contact Amanda Moyer for additional information at amandam@christianrelief.org or (703) 317-9086 ext. 103

Submit Forms Online:

Downloadable Forms:

Christian Relief Services is pleased to announce that the Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded it a grant of $2,500 in support of its Safe Places transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence and their children operating in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Since 1996, Safe Places has been vital to survivors of domestic violence offering safe, affordable housing to women and their children. The mission of Safe Places is to break the cycle of domestic violence so families can live their lives free of abuse.

Simply stated – Safe Places saves lives.

In Fairfax County, domestic violence is the leading cause of homicide. Victims also represent 41 percent of the homeless population in the county.

When a woman leaves an abusive relationship, she is at the highest risk of danger and often has no place to go, faces discrimination, and often is temporarily unable to work.

With a lack of resources, someone to turn to, hard to find affordable housing and long wait lists, too many victims of domestic violence and their children are forced to make the terrible choice between suffering continued abuse at home or becoming homeless.

But, when a victim of domestic violence enters the Safe Places program she is safe and cared for. First, she is assigned a case manager who works with her and her children to develop her individual service plan and supports her through incremental steps to achieve her goals. This work takes place during home visits and out in the community where the case manager is her advocate when seeking community resources and/or support.

Once in the Safe Places program, in addition to the safe housing that she is able to afford based on her wages, and the case management support which this important Wells Fargo Foundation grant will help to pay for, she is the recipient of her own individualized financial counseling through Christian Relief Services’ Safe Places Economic Empowerment Program for up to 24 months so that when this transitional period is over she will be able to support herself and her children on her own.

“On behalf of the clients we serve I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Wells Fargo Foundation for its generosity to the Safe Places program,” said Safe Places Program Director, Amanda Moyer.

 

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In 2015, Fairfax County, Virginia police received an average of more than eight domestic violence calls for service each day. In many cases, the victim ultimately refuses to press charges or leave their abuser because they have nowhere to turn.

Because no one should have to choose between homelessness and abuse, Christian Relief Services, based in Fairfax County founded its Safe Places program to provide long-term transitional housing and support services for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Women such as Antonia and her four children have a home today because of Safe Places after fleeing to a domestic violence shelter that only allowed them to stay for about a month. Without the Safe Places program, the family could have ended up living together in their car with no money for rent and nowhere else to go for help.

Antonia, an immigrant to the United States with no family in the country, had fallen out of love with her husband, but for the sake of her children, she stayed with him.

That is, until the day he assaulted her. She called police who charged her husband with domestic assault, received a 3-day protective order, and within two days she and her children were living in a shelter. She later sought and received a 15-day protective order and ultimately a two-year protective order.

Although she lost her job while she was living in the shelter, her 19-year-old daughter Catalina is the family breadwinner for the time being. But, with help from her Safe Places case worker, she is looking to find a new job, improve her English language skills and earn her U.S. citizenship in the next two years. Catalina hopes to earn a degree in nursing and start a career.

Antonia’s dream, when she completes the Safe Places program, is to be able to afford her own mobile home, and become a homeowner instead of paying rent all her life.

Today, despite the hardships and challenges, Antonia and Catalina are all smiles and laughter and full of joy.

“We are very happy and grateful for this opportunity and for Safe Places for helping us when we had nobody,” Antonia said. “And helping still.”

“She feels positive about the future,” adds Catalina.

 

Don Rippert, photo courtesy of WUSA 9.

UPDATE: October 23, 2015

Just a few weeks ago, Christian Relief Services reported on the program to bridge the digital divide at Bucknell Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia. Today, the fourth, fifth, and six graders at Bucknell E.S. will be receiving their computers–which for many, are the first ones they have ever had. Read below to learn about how the program started.

Article courtesy of WUSA 9
(
Click here to view video and original article)

By Peggy Fox

FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) — Every day, thousands of children in the D.C. area, including in Fairfax County, experience what many would consider unimaginable in 2015. They must do their homework offline because of a lack of an internet connection.

The inability to access what has become an invaluable learning tool caught the eye of Don Rippert, a local IBM executive who wants to fix the digital divide where he grew up.

“What do you tell those kids? You should get a second class education because your folks don’t have enough money to buy you complicated electronics?” Rippert said.

Rippert is a 1978 graduate of Groveton High School, which closed and merged into West Potomac High School. He saw a story WUSA9 did highlighting the problem two years ago and decided to do something about it.

“I just would like to level the playing field a little bit for those people because it just doesn’t seem right to me. I’m amazed it’s even legal,” Rippert said.

Rippert donated $25,000, which was matched by Christian Relief Services, to pay for computers and Internet Connection for students at Bucknell Elementary School, a school that feeds into West Potomac. 80 percent of the students at Bucknell are eligible for free and reduced lunch, which is a measure of poverty.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bridge the digital divide. A lot of our students know how to use computers because we have some that are available at the school. These computers will travel home,” Tim Slayter, Bucknell Principal said.

The computers will be like a textbook and be issued to all fourth, fifth and sixth graders. And for those kids who don’t have an Internet connection at home, they’ll receive one year of free service through Cox.

Don Rippert is hoping others will follow his lead and bring computers and Internet connection to the rest of the children in Fairfax County who need it.

Cox provides low-cost Internet connection to low-income families, but many eligible families do not use it, either because they don’t know about it or cannot afford it.

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Affordable Housing

The Untold Story

According to Fairfax County’s Continuum of Care Project rankings for 2013, Christian Relief Services Charities and Christian Relief Services of Virginia, Inc. were among the leading providers of affordable housing in the county, operating homes with Pathway Homes and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc., as well as Christian Relief Services Charities’ Safe Places and STRIDE programs.

It’s by far the single-largest aspect of Christian Relief Services Charities, but a facet of the organization that’s largely unknown, but that makes a huge difference for residents of Christian Relief Services Charities-owned properties in Arizona, Kansas, and in its own backyard in northern Virginia.

In 2011, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RHA) and the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development described the “Partnership in Action” together creating “a place to call home” for thousands of county residents.

The county agencies noted that they and Christian Relief Services Charities “have a long-standing, successful partnership to provide housing and services to homeless families.”

Christian Relief Services Charities uses Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other federal funding provided by Fairfax County for its Homeless Transitional Housing program with the goal of bridging the gap when permanent housing is not available at the time the household leaves an emergency shelter.

“The program provides opportunities for motivated participants to obtain the necessary skills, income and services to obtain permanent housing and achieve self-sufficiency,” the agencies stated. “As part of the program, Christian Relief Services Charities provides clients with case management, support services, budgeting and financial management counseling.”

The report noted that at that time, Christian Relief Services Charities owned 45 site properties scattered throughout the county, which are used to provide transitional housing for formerly homeless households exiting emergency shelters, to include seniors, those with disabilities and victims of domestic violence.

That year, the RHA had used federal funding to finance the acquisition and/or rehabilitation of by Christian Relief Services Charities of three properties which provide seven beds of permanent supportive housing.

Christian Relief Services Charities also received CDBG funding through the county’s Consolidated Community Funding Pool (CCFP) to provide case management support, financial management training and housing counseling and advocacy services.

For the period 1993 to 2011, CDBG funding supported Christian Relief Services Charities in achieving the following service outcomes:

*More than 429 households addressed safety and other destabilizing issues.

*More than 533 households completely paid off or substantially reduced household debt.

*More than 353 households achieved a level of self-sufficiency sufficient enough to qualify for permanent housing

Also, during that period, Christian Relief Services Charities received $1,079,018 in CDBG support under the CCFP, which Christian Relief Services Charities leveraged with more than $9.7 in resources, including more than $3.5 million in cash and more than $6.2 million in non-cash and volunteer resources to provide these public services – a leveraging ratio of 9:1.

The report concluded noting that it is Christian Relief Services Charities that provides the housing that serves disabled adults through the partnerships with Pathway Homes and the CSB for the supportive services.

In the years that followed, Christian Relief Services Charities established what today is comprised of 15 non-profit organizations, known as affiliates – the majority of which pertain to affordable housing – which are exempted under its Internal Revenue Service Group exemption.

Christian Relief Services Charities supports the administrative activities (filing state regulations annually, fundraising, accounting, human resources, legal and technology) to be the infrastructure for the affiliates’ ability to secure donations, utilize the support of volunteers and develop partnerships with local government and non-governmental organizations to obtain the adequate funding necessary to provide for programming.

In terms of direct housing experience, Christian Relief Services Charities is a proven leader in preserving affordable housing both locally near its headquarters located in Fairfax County, Virginia and in other states through its affiliates which are Single Purpose Entities owning multi-family properties.

Christian Relief Services Charities’ nonprofit affiliate CRSC Residential, Inc. provides direct property management services representing a total of 1,765 units preserved and maintained as affordable housing as of January 15, 2015.

CRSC Residential is responsible for all property management activities to include, but not limited to, property marketing, leasing, leasing compliance, income certification, landlord/tenant relations, rent collection, accounting, property maintenance and repair, and move-in/move-out inspections.

CRSC Residential Properties

  1. CRS Triangle Housing Corporation – Melrose Apartments, Triangle, VA (370 units of very low and moderate income housing in a Virginia suburb of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area), incorporated December, 1998
  1. CRS Kansas Affordable Housing Corporation – Brentwood Apartments, Wichita, KS (196 units rented to mixed income population, 20% of the units are set aside for families making less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), incorporated November, 1995
  1. Mountain Lakes Housing Foundation, Inc. – Mountain Lakes Apartments, Tucson, AZ (96 one and two bedroom units of which 50% are set aside for persons earning less than 50% of the AMI), incorporated September, 1992
  1. CRS Scottsdale Housing Corporation – Sun King Apartments, Scottsdale, AZ (360 units of multifamily housing serving low to moderate-income community. A minimum of 20% of the units are reserved for persons earning less than 50% of the AMI) & Casa Castillo Apartments, Phoenix, AZ (15 units 2 bedroom project of which 3 units are for persons earning less than 65% AMI), incorporated March, 2000
  1. CRS Fountain Place Housing Corporation – Fountain Place I and II Apartments, Peoria, AZ (164-unit townhouse development rented to families and individuals who primarily earn less than 80% of AMI. 20% of units are rented to families earning less than 50% of AMI), incorporated June, 2001
  1. CRS Cambridge Court Housing Corporation – Cambridge Court Apartments, Phoenix, AZ (286 units of very low and moderated income housing in central Phoenix), incorporated June, 2001
  1. CRS Somerset Place Housing Corporation – Somerset Place Apartments, Tucson, AZ (160 units of low to moderate income housing in Tucson), incorporated October, 2013
  1. CRS Peoria Housing Corporation – Country Village Apartments, Peoria, AZ (118 units of low and moderate income housing in Peoria), incorporated December, 2012
  1. CRS of Virginia – Harbor View Apartments, Quantico, VA (funded in part with low-income housing tax credits which the compliance period has expired), incorporated November, 1991

In northern Virginia, CRS of Virginia works diligently to address and alleviate the multiple barriers people with special needs face to secure permanent housing locally for homeless families and disabled adults in Fairfax County.

CRS of Virginia in conjunction with Christian Relief Services Charities’ extensive portfolio of multi-family affordable housing fully demonstrates the organization’s commitment and well-established experience in housing development and related services.

CRS of Virginia is a nonprofit housing developer and qualified Community Housing Development Organization serving Fairfax County and other locations in Virginia for 23 years with the purpose of acquiring, preserving, constructing and managing properties exclusively to serve low-income, homeless and disadvantaged residents of the Commonwealth.

Throughout Fairfax County, CRS of Virginia owns and manages 77 individually scattered site properties (as of January 15, 2015) comprised of single family homes, condominiums and townhouses which fill a vital gap serving as temporary or permanent housing for homeless families and disabled adults, as well as survivors of domestic violence and low-income residents of the county where the availability of affordable housing is extremely scarce, particularly for those with special needs.

The properties have been acquired by CRS of Virginia over the years through its participation in the Fairfax County Continuum of Care securing a variety of funding streams awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, and multiple low-interest loans from the Virginia Development Housing Authority with approximately $533,000 from the county’s Redevelopment Housing Authority.

CRS of Virginia operates the properties in collaboration with several other nonprofit agencies to offer quality affordable and supportive housing for the most vulnerable residents of the county.

Most notably, CRS of Virginia has partnered with Fairfax County-based Pathway Homes since 1991 and through the combined work of both nonprofits, together they operate seven properties owned and managed by CRS of Virginia with Pathways providing direct services for 28 single adults with severe mental illness.

This partnership has proven effective in successfully securing HUD funding annually and meeting all program standards for serving chronically homeless disabled adults.

Examples of services provided by Pathways at properties owned and managed by CRS of Virginia include crisis intervention, monitoring of substance use and recovery activities, and on-site daily living skills training, such as budgeting, cooking, hygiene, shopping, medication management, socialization and interpersonal skills.

Residents also receive individual counseling, ongoing psychiatric medication assessment and supervision as well as assistance from staff in transportation or travel training to ensure they have access to resources in the community.

In addition to Pathways, CRS of Virginia has developed a strong and effective partnerships with several other well-respected local organizations in the county over the years which serve as the sponsoring agencies responsible for direct supportive services while it serves as the landlord and property manager conducting property renovations and rehabilitation as needed.

The 77 properties are dedicated for the following purposes:

  • 15 Permanent Supportive Housing – supervised homes for single adults funded in part by HUD Continuum of Care providing housing and support services to approximately 64 chronically homeless and disabled county residents with Pathways and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services providing on-site services and management support.
  • 16 homes for treatment recovery for homeless county residents leased and operated by the Fairfax County-Falls Church Community Services Board. CRS of Virginia has partnered with the CSB for decades with the fixed-rate leasing agreements at well below market rate. This is a tremendous benefit to the CSB securing valuable housing stock in perpetuity with CRS of Virginia as the landlord, avoiding any concern of changes or increases which could impact programming or costs in the future.
  • 17 Transitional Housing – units for the homeless partially funded by the county’s Consolidated Community Funding Pool for nearly 20 years. In this program, CRS of Virginia provides direct specialized programming through its Safe Places program, decided to providing long-term safe supportive housing to victims of domestic violence and their children as they heal from the trauma of domestic violence and begin to rebuild their lives. Residents of Safe Places are provided with safe affordable housing for up to two years, as well as case management, victim and court advocacy, connections to critical community resources, budget and financial counseling and employment assistance. The combination of these services and program activities gives participants the opportunity to establish the stability and to build resources necessary to obtain and maintain permanent housing, heal from domestic violence and develop social supports within the community.
  • 15 units are a combination of permanent and transitional housing served by one of several sponsoring agencies: New Hope Housing, Alternative House, Volunteers of America and Friends of Guest House. Residents pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income or less, depending on their sponsoring program.
  • 1 single family property is sponsored by Artemis House and serves as a shelter for families fleeing domestic violence.
  • 13 single family properties are dedicated to low-income families with resident supported by housing subsidies available through Bridging Affordability or Housing Choice vouchers.

This unique model of collaboration between CRS of Virginia and the nonprofit partners allows the agencies to effectively work together to offer specialized services to their clients in tandem with a compassionate landlord who shares their commitment to residents’ needs.

“Everybody wants to work with Christian Relief Services Charities,” commented Bryan Krizek, who initiated the housing program and today is the organization’s CEO. (See Bryan’s profile, page X.)

In sum, under Bryan’s leadership CRSC Residential and CRS of Virginia have more than 20 years’ of experience in the acquisition, management, and the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of as many as 3,000 affordable housing units over the years.

Currently, the organization is responsible for a housing portfolio valued at $120 million, as well as all activities necessary to ensure property and funding compliance.

On any given day, right now, assuming an average of 3.5 residents per household for the 1,765 CRSC Residential properties, there are 6,177.5 low-income children, women and men who have a roof over their head, a warm bed to sleep in, and no worries about where they are going to live tomorrow, all because of Christian Relief Services Charities.

In addition, when taking into account the additional 77 homes that are owned by Christian Relief Services Charities and operated by CRS of Virginia specifically for those most in need in our society – the disabled, mentally challenged and domestic violence victims – the number swells to hundreds more.

It’s a story that needs to be, and must be, told.

Lakeshore Village Apartments, Cleveland, Ohio

A Lakeshore Beach Apartments in Cleveland, Ohio, the motto is “Life is Better Here.”

CRS Housing Preservation closed on the acquisition of the 108-unit property in December 2008, serving low-income families with 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.

But CRS Housing Preservation did much more than simply take ownership of the property.

It invested in the apartment complex – substantially.

CRS Housing Preservation immediately began a $5.5 million renovation of the property.

CRS Housing Preservation CEO Bryan Krizek noted that the renovation of the property significantly improved the previously bland aesthetics of the property, and increased energy efficiency with both new HVAC equipment and additional wall and ceiling insulation.

“And more importantly,” commented Krizek, “this renovation added new community space and playground area, where none had existed prior to CRS’s involvement.

Lakeshore Beach Apartments offers affordable apartments with private entries and off-street parking with rents based on 30 percent of adjusted income.

Despite participating in an affordable housing program, that does not mean the property is sparse – in fact, quite the opposite.

For those who enjoy being outdoors, the location is ideal, just one block from Lake Erie and near numerous parks and walking paths.

The property also includes a community clubhouse with a large screen TV for residents, high-speed internet access, first floor laundry facilities and walk-in showers.

CRS Housing Preservation partnered with Dominium, one of the country’s largest affordable housing development and management companies, for development and management services at Lakeshore Beach.

Dominium manages more than 23,000 units in 21 states and is the fifth largest owner of affordable housing units in the country and has been in business more than 40 years.

In addition, CRS Housing Preservation partnered with Northeast Shores, a local community development corporation for the neighborhood, to provide residents with access to activities and social services. Northeast Shores works to create a better community to live, work and visit on the shores of Lake Erie.

Krizek pointed out that that CRS Housing Preservation’s acquisition and subsequent rehab of the property preserved 108 units of project-based Section 8 housing where the average income of residents at Lakeshore Beach is $13,502.

And since CRS Housing Preservation taking ownership of the property, life there has changed dramatically.

“Prior to CRS Housing Preservation’s involvement, there was significant criminal activity on the property,” said Krizek. “Today the property is one of the best in the neighborhood.”

St. James Village, Houston, Texas

CRS Housing Preservation acquired St. James Village in Houston, Texas in October, 2009, with full knowledge it was taking on a big task in hand.

“This property was one of the worst in the area with substantial criminal activity, poor management attention and a failing physical plant,” said Krizek.

But he was undaunted.

CRS Housing Preservation, again partnering with Dominium along with a Texas-based non-profit group, completed a major renovation of the property, as well as a complete management turnaround.

In fact, looking at photographs before the $8 million renovation compared to after the renovation, it’s hard to believe it’s the same property.

“Thus we have preserved for the long term 150 units of project-based Section 8 affordable housing for families needing 1,2,3, and 4 bedroom apartments,” said Krizek.

Krizek pointed out that the families residing at St. James Village earn on average less than $12,000 per year.

“So clearly this housing serves an important purpose,” he said.

St. James Village offers a convenient location to almost anywhere in Houston along with great amenities including on-site laundry facilities, a community room with kitchen and private porches and entryways.

Also, Krizek adds, more than 300 children who live there are able to enjoy playing on new playgrounds and in the community facility, which did not exist prior to CRS Housing Preservation’s involvement, where they can access the internet and take part in a variety of afterschool programs.

“CRS Housing Preservation is proud that St. James Village will serve the community for years to come,” Krizek said.

Silver Gardens Apartments, Dallas, Texas

In May 2015, CRS Housing Preservation acquired Silver Gardens Apartments in Dallas, Texas.

CRS Housing Preservation acquired the 202-unit senior property from a local non-profit organization that was not in a position to provide for the ongoing investment needed to keep the property viable, according to Krizek.

In stepped CRS Housing Preservation which was able to take ownership of the property, and, continuing its long-term relationship with Dominium, will continue to serve the senior residents who call Silver Gardens home.

Silver Garden Apartments offer studio, one and two bedroom apartments featuring spacious floor plans perfect for senior living.

Amenities at Silver Gardens include beautifully landscaped and maintained community gardens, an ideal location near shopping and entertainment opportunities, community laundry facilities, space available for resident activities, a wellness center and library.

Krizek noted that CRS Housing Preservation has extended the existing Section 8 contracts for 20 years, and hired a new management group to improve operations.

But that’s not all.

“Our plan and goal is to complete a substantial renovation of this property,” Krizek said.

Imagine being a child with Christmas coming up with the knowledge that there will be no toys under tree come Christmas Day – in fact, there’s not even a tree to put a toy under.

Or imagine being a parent wanting to be able to share the joy of Christmas with your young son or daughter, but, being out of work it’s hard enough just to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and the utility bills paid.

For many of our fellow Americans in hard-pressed Appalachia, this is all too often the case.

This year, Christian Relief Services will provide more than 2,700 frozen turkeys to our grassroots partners in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia during the Christmas season

This year we are asking for support from our neighbors here in Northern Virginia to help ensure children will receive at least one toy from “Santa” this year.

Christian Relief Services, located at 8301 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA, 22309, is collecting toys now through Friday, December 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27 when the offices will be closed).

We are seeking new toys, in their original packaging, with a value of between $10 and $25, appropriate for children from toddler age to 12 years.

Please consider “Being a Santa” for a child in Appalachia this Christmas.

For information about the toy drive, please call 703-317-9086.

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Alexandria, VA – In 2015, Fairfax County, Virginia police received an average of more than eight domestic violence calls for service each day. In many cases, the victim ultimately refuses to press charges or leave their abuser because they have nowhere to turn.

Because no one should have to choose between homelessness and abuse, Christian Relief Services, based in Fairfax County founded its Safe Places program to provide long-term transitional housing and support services for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

On Friday, May 20, golfers will have the opportunity to enjoy a round on one of the most prestigious private courses in the mid-Atlantic region – The Golf Club at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia. The Golf Club at Lansdowne was created by world-renowned designers Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Greg Norman incorporating fields, woodlands, natural stone outcroppings and century-old rock walls.

Entrance fees for the 1st Annual Safe Places Golf Classic are $1,000 for a foursome, and $250 for an individual which include green fees, cart, range balls, contests, lunch and dinner. Sponsorship opportunities are available. All entries and payments must be received by Friday, May 13. To register, or for more information, please visit www.safe-places.org or contact Amanda Moyer at 703-317-9086, ext. 103 or email her at amandam@christianrelief.org.

In 2015, the Safe Places program served 102 individuals including 28 women and 74 children and provided a total of 23,213 bed nights and participants in the Golf Classic will be helping to raise funds to increase those numbers in 2016.

Women such as Antonia and her four children have a home today because of Safe Places after fleeing to a domestic violence shelter that only allowed them to stay for about a month. Without the Safe Places program, the family could have ended up living together in their car with no money for rent and nowhere else to go for help.

But now, she and her children have a home for up to two years, for which she pays 30 percent of her gross income, as well as case management support so that when the two years is up, she will be able to secure permanent, stable housing for herself and her children on her own.

CRS -- Scout Parents_6134By Steve Hunt

Boy Scout Barrett Banfield wanted to come up with something unique for his Eagle Scout project.

And that he did.

Barrett of Boy Scout Troop 1183 in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, Virginia had worked with Christian Relief Services previously and he turned to them again first to see what he could do help out the Alexandria-based nonprofit.

“I checked with them to see if they had anything to do,” Barrett said.

And, boy did they.

Christian Relief Services owns and manages dozens of properties in Fairfax County for low-income working residents as well as victims of domestic violence and it is renovating a home it has purchased in the Engleside area of the county, just a short distance from the Christian Relief Services headquarters on Richmond Highway in the Mount Vernon District of the county.

Christian Relief Services needed someone to paint the interior of the two-story single family home – a big job, but Barrett was ready, willing and able to commit to the undertaking.

“I was looking for a unique project,” he said, and to his knowledge “no Scout has done one before.”

Barrett knew he was going to have to recruit a lot of help turning not only to members of his own Scout Troop, but also to members of Troop 1103. He rounded up fellow Scouts, including friends such as Isaak Phillips, and he also knew he could count on his fellow parishioners at his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Franconia area of the county.

His father, church Bishop Peter Banfield and his mother Carrie, were among the more than two dozen volunteers who helped paint the interior of the house from top to bottom Saturday, Sept. 19. Others who helped out included Elder Finlayson and Elder Flowers, Doug Barclay, Spencer Parker, Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holly Dougherty and her 18-year-old son, Andrew, a recent graduate of Edison High School who in October will begin his two year mission to Brazil, and Brother Steve Echard, who just happens to have painted professionally and was doing much of the detail work.