Cornerstones provides emergency food and shelter to local at-risk families and individuals, together with longer-term housing and other social and educational services.
Why does NVHC Change need to raise $36,000?
NVHC needs to raise a significant sum to support our community at this difficult time. Thanks to the generosity of our members, we have made sizeable contributions to assist our neighbors in past years, and now, with the increased demand for services due to COVID-19, we want to do as much, or more. For last year’s campaign, we raised over $36,000, nearly all of which—about 95 percent—is going to local organizations (with the remaining 5 percent going to HIAS and MAZON). This year, as households struggle with job and income losses, more people are going hungry, and with online learning, kids who used to eat subsidized breakfasts and lunches at school can no longer do so. Local food banks are serving more and more people. And, social service organizations, such as Cornerstones, have incurred higher costs to keep staff and clients safe from exposure to the virus even as the virus has imposed new service demands on them.
How are Tikkun Olam funds allocated? Can the funds be used for other purposes?
The NVHC Social Action Committee (SAC) allocates the funds raised each year at an open meeting in the spring. All congregants are welcome to attend this meeting and to participate in the discussion. All the funds must be used for social action purposes. No funds go to NVHC operations (and, conversely, neither NVHC membership dues nor operating funds have supported social action donations). The NVHC Board of Trustees reviews and approves the planned donations each year. For 2021-22, we plan to support ongoing efforts at 2020-‘21 levels and then increase our support or identify additional recipients, as appropriate.
Where does the money go?
To combat hunger in our community:
- We provide cash and in-kind contributions to Cornerstones, much of it for food assistance. This year we increased the number of meals prepared for both the Embry Rucker and hypothermia shelters, conducted food drives in addition to our traditional Yom Kippur effort, and donated more grocery gift cards.
- When schools reopen, we will again prepare weekend snack packs for Forest Edge and Clearview students, using Tikkun Olam funds to pay for snacks to supplement congregants’ in-kind donations. If the schools do not reopen, we will donate these funds to other local organizations fighting food insecurity. So far this academic year, we have re-allocated most of the unused snack pack funds to Cornerstones Food Pantry, Food for Neighbors, and South Lakes High School Food Pantry. Last spring we also supported Herndon Cares and FCPS Access for All Fund.
To increase our visibility in the community and strengthen our interfaith and community relationships through memberships in local organizations and co-sponsorships of local events with a social action focus:
- With VOICE leaders from about 50 Northern Virginia faith communities and civic organizations, we identify and try to address issues of local concern.
- Through FACS, we work with over 70 places of worship to make Northern Virginia greener.
- We co-sponsor the annual Reston Pride Day to welcome the LGBTQ community.
- We co-sponsor the Fairfax County Student Peace Awards.
To support national and regional Jewish organizations with a social justice mission, such as HIAS, MAZON, and JCRC.
To fund social action projects at NVHC, including:
- Religious school projects.
- Projects designed by congregants and approved for microgrants and new SAC initiatives.
Plus a reserve is set aside each year for urgent needs in the community or to rollover into the next year.
Will we still participate in the Food Pantry Drive during the High Holy Days and food donations for Forest Edge and the Cornerstones shelters?
Yes! The SAC only asks for funds once a year, by this request. However, we will still ask congregants to donate food or other goods throughout the year for our social action projects. When additional food is needed beyond the food donations, Tikkun Olam funds are used.
Who are some of our partner organizations?
Cornerstones: Nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, and other services.
FACS (Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions): Nonpartisan, nonprofit, interfaith organization (with over 70 local faith organization participants) that focuses on developing local solutions to climate and environmental issues.
Fairfax County Student Peace Awards: Nonprofit organization that provides small cash awards for high schools to recognize students who have made a positive contribution to their school or community by promoting mutual understanding and respect for all people
Food for Neighbors: Nonprofit Herndon-based organization that provides weekend food to middle school and high school families in need in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society): National Jewish organization supporting refugees of all faiths in the U.S.
JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington): Regional Jewish organization focusing on public policy concerns central to Jewish consciousness.
MAZON: National Jewish advocacy organization working to end hunger among all faiths in the U.S. and Israel.
Reston Pride: An event first held in June 2018, with NVHC co-sponsoring along with others in the faith community, Cornerstones, and corporate partners.
South Lakes High School Food Pantry: Nonprofit organization providing food to families in need in the South Lakes pyramid.
VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement): Nonpartisan, nonprofit, interfaith organization working to build community relationships, identify community concerns, and work for social justice at the local and state levels.
I want to participate in social action activities with NVHC. What can I do?