Falls Church Community Service Council (FCS), Inc.

Box 141, Falls Church, VA 22040-0141

(this is an unofficial report of FCS; information is believed to be accurate)

The FCS is an organization with volunteer representatives from an extensive number of churches in the Falls Church community area.  The organization sponsors a multiplicity of committees which serve persons living in and around the Falls Church area.  FCS also coordinates with and gets and feeds information to Fairfax County government organizations responsible to maintain a quality of life for persons living in Fairfax County.  If you review the functions of the FCS committees, you can get a better feel for how FCS serves the people of Falls Church and the surrounding areas.

FCS meetings are held on the Monday of the second week of the month every two months. They are usually held at one of the participating churches or organizations having a representative in FCS although other meeting places are common. Meetings in the summer months are usually not held. All churches are welcome to send a representative to the meetings. Those church representatives gather valuable information about the committees serving the areas, and they can then inform their respective church leaders and church members of the functions served by the committee. A free newsletter is available to all those interested in what is happening in FCS.

Sample meeting agenda; committee descriptions follow the agenda:

Regular Council Meeting March 10, 1997

The FCS Council met at the Knox Presbyterian church.

Treasurer's Report -- Audit cost $6,000 (Fairfax County to pay for Food Fund portion)

OLD BUSINESS

Day Care Center is applying for its own charter and expects to have it within the next couple months. They wish, however, to remain connected with the Council. At the Executive Board meeting last week, it was agreed that they would be an associate member of FCS, not a full member, so a working relationship will continue.

NEW BUSINESS

Executive Board decided to attempt to tap some of the County's family services budget by applying for a grant proposal of $60,000. If received, this money will increase our rent and utilities payments. A copy of the proposal for folks to review after the meeting was available. It's not clear at this point whether we'll be successful and receive the funds. The grant proposal included an estimate of in-kind donations and services of nearly $150,000.

We received notice about Fall Church City's festival for Memorial Day and sometime in the Fall. The Executive Board agreed to participate in both festivals as a way to increase FCS' visibility in the community. We also received notice from the County of their new regional office structure. Churches should soon get a flyer advising them of existing rent relief for senior citizens.

[Usually at the conclusion of the NEW BUSINESS, a 1/2 - 1 hour presentation is often made of an organization in Fairfax County which serves the public.  Sample presentations: the person in charge of setting up an overflow shelter in Falls Church; a representative of Fairfax County social services on the new structure of area coordinators.]

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Special Reports: What Each Committee Does

Telephone Coordinators

The coordinator explained that there are 10 workers who work one week every two months and field telephone calls. They accept requests for help for families from social workers, ministers, Bailey's hispanic committee, Northern Virginia family service, and school social workers. These calls are for rent, medicine, utilities, and other special needs.

Calls for help should only go to the main FCS number: 222-0880, although most incoming calls should come from social workers.

Food Pantry

The FCS pantry is located at Knox Presbyterian. Volunteers deliver food daily. They receive the calls for food from Mada after she and her workers receive requests. The Food Pantry coordinator also submitted a grant proposal for perishables. Pantry is an emergency stop-gap: one week only. Territory includes zip codes of 22041, 42, 43, 44, 46, so we are much more than just Falls Church City.

Bounded by ACCA in Annandale, CHO in Vienna, Share in McLean, and Arlington County. Requests for Falls Church are handled by FCS. We deliver directly to the people's homes. Food is provided only for the "preparation" of meals. Non-perishable food comes from member churches food drives, Boy Scouts, postal workers' collections, and many others.

Transportation

The transportation coordinator said the purpose of  Transportation is to get clients to medical appointments. Volunteers from nine local churches cover this need. Each church has a coordinator. Calls for this need come from Mada. Schedules for church volunteers is published periodically. Volunteer drivers call the night before to confirm need. Clients must live in zip codes 22041, 42, 44, or 46. Do not take wheelchair clients with specialized needs. Parents of young children must supply child car seats.

Clothing Closet

The Clothing Closet is located at Knox Presbyterian church. The Clothing Closet coordinator said they are in desperate need of baby and maternity clothes. Otherwise, they have ample supplies to serve all other needs. Another Clothing Closet coordinator asked that churches making donations consider seasonal needs so that storage requirements are not unduly impacted. He also shared some 1996 highlights: Kurdish refugees helped, two rummage sales held, and Northern Virginia Mental Health Association supplied. Referrals again come through Mada.

Meals on Wheels

The Meals on Wheels coordinator said that four teams handle Falls Church, six for Annandale, seven for Tysons. Churches make steady, ongoing delivery commitments. The number of teams per church differ. Referrals come from the County Office on Aging, and from doctors.

Furniture

The Furniture coordinator circulated a schedule for furniture repair and delivery crews. Schedules are set a year in advance. The Furniture committee serves zip codes 22041, 42, 44, and 46. Fairfax County provides the truck and the Falls Church City pays for the insurance. There are nine moving crews and three repair teams. About half of the local churches are involved in this program. Local residents donated this furniture, but we also received what's leftover from Salvation Army's periodical auctions. Also works with ACCA. Incoming pick-ups and deliveries come through Mada and another coordinator. Beginning in January, Fairfax County social workers are submitting needs through e-mail. This effort has been operational since 1974.

Newsletter

The newsletter editor said there are six newsletters yearly. Deadline is the tenth of the month. He produces and mails approximately 650 copies each issue.

Homestretch

The Homestretch coordinator said that an annual report goes out in September. In March a mid-year mailing is issued. She suggested that people read the mid-year report, which she distributed at the meeting [its available also upon request from Homestretch]. Homestretch is the largest transitional housing authority in the County and started nearly seven years ago. All referrals come from Fairfax County or Falls Church City social workers. Homestretch will work with families for up to two years. Homestretch is always in need of furnishings. This is the only organization in the County that can handle large families (example: one family of 14).

Functions of Homestretch:

She also needs (paid) staff to assist with their Wednesday night classes at Falls Church Presbyterian.

Day Care Center

The Day Care coordinator said that the center serves 72 children now. Each year over 100 families are helped. Funding is received from Dept. of Family Services. They've been working with Fairfax County for about 20 years. Farifax County pays a portion of fee; parents the rest. There are 200 families on the waiting list. No referrals, just walk-ins. Very much in-kind services and donations received through FCS and local churches. Provides comprehensive services to the children, including medical screenings. The Day Care Center works with Head Start and the Virginia Pre-School initiative. The Center has many needs. Although they receive funding from USDA for meals, it's not enough. Churches are welcome to provide whatever funding, food, or volunteer services (such as spring or fall cleanup) if they wish.

Falls Church Emergency Shelter

The Falls Church Emergency Shelter said the shelter is opened evenings only from December through end of March. It can handle up to 15 people. Guests are selected and sent by the Bailey's Shelter. Space was donated by Mr. Massoud. Churches provide breakfast foods.

====================== end of committee descriptions =====================

Personal note: I've been a representative from our church for 2-1/2 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the meetings as well as the friendly warm feeling from all the fellow representatives and committee representatives.  This is a really fascinating group to be with.  What amazes me is the amount of volunteer services that are provided by FCS through the committees.  It allows both the participation of the surrounding churches as well as those individual churches and individuals within those churches who wish to participate.  Availability for volunteer services can be as short as a single event (delivering Turkeys) to longer term commitment (meals on wheels; transportation; furniture pickup/delivery).

An example of what our church provides in coordination with FCS:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: mailto: costar@costar.net 

Gordon Storr