The Alexandria Community Shelter received a facelift Tuesday thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers and donations from numerous area businesses and organizations.
The city-owned shelter, which is operated by New Hope Housing, houses 65 beds and provides refuge for men, women and families. The building is located at 2355-B Mill Road near the Hoffman Center movie theater.
Tuesday’s project, dubbed “All Hands on Deck” by Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission, included the installation of new flooring, blinds and furniture inside the shelter as well as new landscaping outside the building.
“It is currently very institutional looking,” said Pam Michell, director of New Hope Housing. “We’re trying to make the inside look more positive and caring, to make those living here feel more inspired.”
With no budget for the project, the EOC had to reach out for donations. Commission Chair Allison Silberberg said she initially asked Home Depot if it could offer just a few cans of paint when she was buying a new appliance for her home.
The Home Depot staff came back with a bigger donation, offering more than $5,000 in materials and bringing a team of around 40 volunteers to assist on Tuesday.
“Having their skilled labor is really important,” Michell said. “They know what they’re doing.”
Other business donors included Hooray for Books!, NextDay Blinds, Barston’s Child’s Play, Dunkin’ Donuts, Honest Tea, Trader Joe’s, Atlantis Pizza, La Casa Restaurant, MOM’s Organic Market, Hungry For Music, Monterey’s Pizza, Whole Foods, The Hoffman Company, AMC Theatres, Focus Data Solutions, the Ladies Group at Bethlehem Baptist Church and the Calvary Chapel. Volunteers were also treated to a meal at Los Tios in Del Ray at the end of the day.
Several families and individuals also made donations to make Tuesday’s event possible.
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th District) made an early morning appearance at the shelter to thank organizers and volunteers.
“We’re going to be even more reliant on volunteerism in the years ahead because of the current [political] climate,” said Moran, who mentioned he was vice president of the EOC in 1976. “New Hope Housing has been operating shelters for years down Route 1. They know that but for the grace of God, the homeless are us.
“This shelter offers and decent, safe and sanitary place [for the homeless],” Moran added. “They are very deserving of [Tuesday’s efforts].”
Del. Charniele Herring (D-46th District) and Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka also made early morning appearances at the shelter.