Before our lives were all upended, we were able to participate in several efforts continuing our mission to complete 40 charitable acts during our 40th anniversary year. During February, VIKA was supported a diverse array of non-profit groups, including the Annual Affair of the Heart Luncheon, Friends of Montgomery County Animals, Food from the Heart Donations to Manna Food Center, and our Adopt-A-Road. It is our hope that we will inspire our staff, clients, and colleagues to become active participants in their communities supporting those who need it most.
Annual Affair of the Heart Luncheon and Fashion Show
Each year, An Affair of the Heart Luncheon and Fashion Show is held to raise funds aimed at reducing death and disability from heart disease and stroke. Well known throughout Greater Washington as an exciting, inspiring, must-attend annual event, this spectacular gathering is an ongoing testament to the Women’s Board’s extraordinary legacy of support for the mission of the American Heart Association and their work to help women build healthier lives. Now in its seventh decade, An Affair of the Heart is one of the oldest annual fundraising events of any nationally recognized non-profit group. We are always proud to support this great cause and hope that the walkable communities and open spaces we help design are a part of everyone’s healthier lifestyle!
Friends of Montgomery County Animals (FMCA)
Because our pets are part of our communities too (we design a lot of dog parks these days!), VIKA was happy to volunteer with the FMCA to set up a cat adoption site at our local PetSmart. FMCA operates a feline and canine adoption and rescue service providing veterinary care and foster homes before being cats and dogs are placed into loving homes. Through their efforts, FMCA places over 100 animals in new homes every year.
Even before the cats arrived, shoppers showed a lot of interest. Having multiple hands available make light work, so we were done quickly with the setup. Simply setting up tables, unfolding small kennels, and adding fresh litter, a warm soft pad, and a few toys, allowed the cats to feel more comfortable as they meet potential new families. While it was hard to say goodbye, we appreciate the opportunity to help our furry friends! They sure make life under a stay-at-home order a lot nicer.
Food from the Heart Donations
When Valentine’s Day rolled around – remember when we could go on dates?! – VIKA pitched in with our MATAN colleagues and their tenants participating in the annual “Food from the Heart” food drive campaign. These donations went to the Manna Food Center supporting their efforts to eliminate hunger in Montgomery County, MD.
Through outreach to all tenants in our complex, food collection bins were placed throughout the building and we collectively reached our goal of donating 1,964 pounds of food! That is 399 pounds more than last year! It’s our small part in Manna’s greater mission providing food to 32,000 individuals each year. In recent weeks, we have come to realize how fragile many households are to disruption, but this is an ongoing issue that we are proud to be a part of in support of our neighbors across the region.
Thus, later in the month, VIKA volunteers spent a day at the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast DC working in the distribution center where we packaged 480 boxes of fruit, veggies, and meals for seniors. These boxed packages are part of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a USDA program across the 50 states.
Working in an assembly line, VIKA, local high-schoolers, and community groups packaged up food and nutrition information so that seniors in need would have the nutritious food they need for healthy and active lives. As we see demographic changes throughout our communities, including the aging of our population, it’s important to keep in touch with the needs of those less fortunate than us.
Strong neighborhoods are built through connection and commitment; VIKA is learning a lot over these months of charitable actions. We are happy to share our experiences and are open to suggestions and partnerships to continue to our goal of 40 in our 40th!
Until next time, we encourage all our friends, colleagues, and clients to check out these organizations who are tackling the big issues in our communities. Interested to see what VIKA tackles next? Keep an eye on our website at: https://www.vika.com/.