“One of the things I love about The Lamb Center is that it brings hope. It brings hope that can overcome despair,” said Vic Rinaldi, former Board Member of The Lamb Center. “Hope is the anchor to the soul,” which is why the Center themed its annual banquet ‘Hope and a Future 2020.’
Unable to hold its traditional yearly event, The Lamb Center invited staff, volunteers, friends, and guests to join in for a virtual event to celebrate the ministry of the Lamb Center and fundraise for future endeavors on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
The Lamb Center is an organization that List With Elizabeth has supported for over five years. It is a daytime drop‐in homeless shelter for individuals in Fairfax, Virginia, that offers a variety of services, including providing breakfast, lunch, showers, laundry service, Bible studies, employment opportunities, housing and job counseling, AA meetings, a nurse practitioner clinic, a dental clinic, and much more. The Center centers its efforts toward support and empowerment with an emphasis on fellowship.
For most guests, the Lamb Center is their primary place to feel welcomed and supported with life’s struggles. And for those who need The Lamb Center, just like so many others, everything changed mid-March. The Center had to adopt stricter operating procedures, and now allows up to five guests at a time to enter the center for 30 minutes to grab a meal, take a shower, and drop off or pick up laundry.
Procedural changes also altered the way guests received mental health and career support services, but “we still offer that same love that we were able to offer before,” said Deacon Dave Larrabee, Lamb Center Director of Operations.
“In every bad situation there’s always a silver lining. Everything’s different, but everything’s the same at The Lamb Center,” Larrabee added, “What we have not lost is really that sense of community.”
Over the course of the evening, staff and guests told heartwarming stories, using their own experiences to demonstrate the power of The Lamb Center’s work.
“It’s an outpouring of your heart,” said Elizabeth Kline, speaking at the virtual event about why she, her family, and List With Elizabeth have committed to support The Lamb Center with their volunteer time and monetary donations.
She appreciates the dedication of the Center’s staff toward those looking to find a full-time job, secure an apartment or any other kind of stable living situation, and ultimately to give back to the community that has steered them on the path to independence.
“When we heard about CityJobs that piqued our interest quite a bit because not only was The Lamb Center helping nourish people’s body and soul, now it’s helping people get back on their feet and get back into the community. So that was extremely intriguing for us and we wanted to help,” said Elizabeth.
CityJobs is a partnership between The Lamb Center and both the City of Fairfax and Fairfax County which provides about 20 guests with paid jobs maintaining city parks and public spaces. The workers take four hour shifts every Monday through Thursday. It’s a transitional work program that is mutually beneficial.
For the workers, City Jobs offers skills training, a purpose, and a paycheck, as well as the possibility of serving as a stepping stone to full-time private sector employment. For city residents, maintenance of public green spaces has proven to have long-term positive social, environmental, economic, and health benefits; It’s even been known to drive up property values!
“What excites me is the vision and the goals that The Lamb Center has for the future,” added Kevin Kline. “Where do we see this going and how can other people get involved? It doesn’t matter if it’s $1 or ten minutes of your time — whether it’s volunteering or monetary — whatever you can do, I think every little thing really helps.”
The Lamb Center’s Hope and a Future 2020 announced a generous matching gift fund, with donations matched up to $40,000.
Gifts not only help The Lamb Center to continue its normal services but now also help cover the unexpected costs of the extra health and safety measures that are being taken as a result of COVID-19. Should you feel compelled to give, donations can be mailed to The Lamb Center, PO Box 1385, Fairfax, VA 22038-1385.