Facing the pending redevelopment of the area housing its food and clothes closets, the Vienna-based Committee for Helping Others (CHO) actively is searching for people willing to donate space for those operations.
CHO, which began in 1969, now has about eight regular volunteers at its food closet and 15 regular volunteers at its clothes closet. Numerous other volunteers occasionally assist with the group’s efforts, including people from local churches and other community organizations, such as Scouting.
CHO also has a team of five emergency-service workers and about 15 furniture volunteers, said board member Anne Moran.
The food and clothes closets both are located in the Vienna Court Condominiums, 133 Park St., N.E., across from Vienna Presbyterian Church. CHO must move in October because the condominium complex is being redeveloped.
CHO’s leaders now are hoping a church or business will lend them about 950 square feet of space for those operations.
“We would direct any donors to consult their own advisers about the financial, tax, insurance and other implications of donating space,” Moran said.
CHO in the meantime still accepts and picks up in-area furniture donations. Those who need furniture are welcome to either call CHO or visit the furniture sheds located on Mill Street, N.E., on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.
Besides its food, clothing and furniture programs, CHO provides direct assistance to those who need help covering rent, utility, medical or other needs on an emergency basis.
“We work with Fairfax County to coordinate help,” Moran said. “This assistance was especially important during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, every year CHO hosted a ‘Christmas Store’ for invited clients that allowed them to choose new, donated toys for their children and receive grocery and a few gift cards.”
During the past two years, CHO hosted a drive-through distribution of food and gift cards only, and delivered those cards to selected home-bound clients, she said.
CHO last year served about 190 families – including 705 people overall – by distributing more than $30,000 of food and gift cards. The group also continued its related bike donation, repair and giveaway program, distributing about 65 bikes this past December.
“We’re hoping to reopen the ‘live’ Christmas Store this year, depending on logistics and community health,” Moran said.