July 11, 2011
About the Annandale Christian Community for Action's Furniture Program
Don Di Spirito spends his Saturday mornings transforming barren apartments into comfortable homes. As chair of the Annandale Christian Community for Action's (ACCA) furniture program, Di Spirito and a team of volunteers collect and deliver gently used furniture to families in need each week.
"We are dealing with people who have a critical need in order to live and we truly transform their living situation," said Di Spirito who has been associated with ACCA for more than 25 years.
The ACCA furniture program is unique in that it is the only full-service program of its kind in Fairfax County – program volunteers pick up furniture from those making a donation, deliver it to those in need and manage three storage facilities to store donated furniture until it's matched with a family.
The furniture program, like all ACCA programs, works in conjunction with Fairfax County. The county screens applicants with furniture needs and sends the requests to Di Spirito. Every Saturday morning 10-12 volunteers set out in three trucks to deliver furniture and pick up donations.
Di Spirito said the furniture program helps anyone with a need such as those moving out of a homeless shelter or refugees who have just the clothes on their back.
"We transition them into apartment rentals and provide the furniture to turn the units into a comfortable home," Di Spirito said.
Furniture for the program is donated by individual donors in the area, hotels, retirement homes, churches and businesses. The program accepts any type of gently used furniture from end tables to dressers to couches.
495 Express Lanes Community Grant Support
One of the most essential furniture items is a bed. The furniture program needs about 300 bed sets – mattresses and box springs – to operate the program each year. The ACCA furniture program was able to purchase 18 new mattress sets with their grant.
"When we are able to walk into a low-cost rental unit and present them with something that is brand new, it is very impressive to them," Di Spirito said.
Transurban-Fluor selected the ACCA furniture program for a community grant because of its commitment to improving the community and helping those in need.
"Transurban will operate the 495 Express Lanes for 75 years," said Tim Steinhilber, general manager of the Project. "As a long-term partner we believe we have an obligation to be active in our community. We are proud to partner with ACCA to provide much-needed furniture to people in need – helping them establish a comfortable home which will serve as the foundation for a healthy and productive life."
In the past year alone, the furniture program has completed nearly 700 furniture pickups and deliveries. They have delivered almost 2,000 furniture items to 335 households, reaching 1,340 people.
The furniture program is just one of the service programs ACCA offers. Founded in 1968, ACCA is a volunteer-driven organization providing day care, food assistance, rental assistance, furniture and other services to low-income families in the Annandale/Bailey's Crossroads area. Each program operates autonomously out of volunteers' homes.
Di Spirito said ACCA is always in need of volunteers. Those with a need for furniture or other services can call (703) 222-0880. ACCA also maintains an emergency hotline at (703) 256-1378.
For more information about ACCA or the furniture program, visit http://www.accacares.org