Members of Assistance League of Northern Virginia gathered recently for a combination December meeting and holiday luncheon. The food was marvelous, the décor was exquisite and all was more memorable because of the warmth of good friends getting together.
Our members also enjoyed hearing about the effects of our programs from our guest speaker, Mary Durgala, a counselor at a Title 1 elementary school that we serve. Members who welcomed the counselor noted that Mary has been one of our most reliable contacts for many years and has provided helpful feedback and insights on our philanthropic efforts. More recently, she had also served as a sounding board early in the pandemic as our chapter endeavored to find new ways to provide assistance when we could not deliver our usual programs. She helped us find new ways to serve struggling students and their families. Mary reviewed the many ways that Assistance League had helped her school over the years and noted how important each program has been for the students, teachers, and parents. She reported that the Weekend Food bags had been especially significant and that she had a waiting list of students who wanted to participate. The grocery gift cards have provided essential help to struggling families since the pandemic. Delivery of Hugs Pillows for the school’s Pre-K and Kindergarten students had been especially helpful in providing the youngest students with ways to cope with stress. Also, the reading tutoring program had given young students a connection with a caring adult and the school’s teachers and administrators were grateful that our in-person tutoring program will resume in January. In addition, the book fair at her school just before the pandemic had been a huge success.
Our members were heartened to hear first-hand about the positive effects of our philanthropic efforts and we were strengthened in our dedication to help those most in need in our community.