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NOVEC HELPS partnered with the Westfield High School National Honor Society to collect gently used coats, jackets, and sweatshirts. Over two weeks, more than 100 coats were collected to support Women Giving Back, an organization that supports more than 700 women and children in crisis every month throughout the Greater Washington Metro area.

The chapter reached out to NOVEC HELPS to partner with NOVEC, so employees could have the chance to give back this winter. "With so many volunteer activities postponed due to COVID, we were so happy to be able to contribute and give back in a meaningful way and to an organization that helps so many families,” said Anita Musick, HELPS Chair and NOVEC Corporate Quality and Training Coordinator. “This coat drive was just a small way for people in our company to keep someone warm in a different way."

James Brescia, NOVEC employee, and daughter, Katie, pick up coats donated through NOVEC HELPS coat drive in partnership with Westfield High School NHS.

"When we received the email from Katie [Brescia] about partnering up, it was an incredibly easy decision to move forward with the coat drive," said Ashley Arnold, HELPS Executive Director and NOVEC Community Relations Representative. While Katie hoped to collect between 30-40 coats over the two week time period, NOVEC employees went above that expectation, collecting more than 100 coats internally. The Westfield High School chapter of the National Honor Society also collected items like coats, socks, books, and toys for Women Giving Back.

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Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Together, the two organizations donates more than $10,000 to area food banks

Volunteers sort items for bags at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.
Volunteers sort items for bags at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, requests for assistance from social service agencies has soared. In April, to help meet demand, NOVEC and its employee-led nonprofit, NOVEC HELPS, agreed to give more than $10,000 in May to 11 area food banks in the counties NOVEC serves — Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford.

Organizations that received funds say the contributions go a long way. Mary Ellen D’Andrea, Western Fairfax Ministries director of development, says they’ve seen almost double the number of clients coming in seeking assistance during the pandemic. “We don’t know where we would be without your support.”

NOVEC HELPS is committed to giving back as much as possible as families grapple with the financial impact of COVID-19. “Even though we couldn’t have our golf tournament fundraiser in May as planned, thanks to companies that contributed to the event, including Lee Electrical Construction and The Okonite Company, we could still give back to our communities,” says NOVEC HELPS Executive Director Ashley Arnold. “Having the continuing support from organizations and individuals in our community helps us to keep giving back at generous levels.”

You can donate to NOVEC HELPS by clicking here or, if you would like to contribute by check, please send one made out to NOVEC HELPS to: Ms. Ashley Arnold, NOVEC HELPS Executive Director, P.O. Box 2710, Manassas, VA 20108.

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Volunteers paint the inside of the Woodbridge CRi location.

Four hours hardly seems like enough time to improve the inside and outside of a house. Though, with enough people and the right mindset, even the most unlikely things can be accomplished. On Oct. 17, 2019, nearly 50 volunteers from NOVEC and CFC partnered with NOVEC HELPS to transform two homes that service CRi — formerly Community Residences, Inc.

The homes, one in Manassas and one in Woodbridge, had a variety of projects for NOVEC and CFC staff members. Volunteers painted bedrooms and offices, power-washed siding, and even helped mend a wheelchair ramp. “This project not only provides [the clients] the opportunity of interacting and benefiting from their community,” said Mohamed Sahid Kargbo, CRi program manager in Woodbridge, “but it sets the tone and serves as an eye-opener of what volunteerism is all about and how it can be done.”

Volunteers arrived at 9 a.m. and began moving furniture, laying tarps, cleaning walls, and applying painter’s tape. Christine Kelly, NOVEC Helps president, added, “It was great seeing everyone moving so enthusiastically in the home. It felt great to give back to our community that we live and work in.”

Together, the two homes accommodate nine people — some residents have lived there for more than 15 years. From the outside, CRi looks like any other home, quiet and unassuming in the neighborhood. Inside the homes, the group provides individualized support to those diagnosed with mental, intellectual, developmental and other related disabilities. Their programs are designed to provide individuals with opportunities to live as independently and with as high of a quality of life as possible.

CRi is the fourth local community organization helped through NOVEC’s Day of Caring. "NOVEC has always supported the communities we serve," notes Stan Feuerberg, NOVEC president and CEO, who participated in the volunteer effort. "By joining forces with CFC employees, we accomplished a lot in a day."

Stan Feuerberg, NOVEC president and CEO, and Dave Schleicher, NOVEC VP of Administration, Substations & Telecommunications, paint the deck outside the Manassas CRi location.

Sheldon Petersen, CFC chief executive officer, said, "I couldn't be more pleased that CFC collaborated with volunteers from NOVEC to give back to the community for the 2019 Day of Caring. This partnership of working together to help others exemplifies two of the seven cooperative principles — Cooperation among Cooperatives and Concern for the Community. The Day of Caring is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers from our organizations to demonstrate our cooperative commitment to empowering local communities."

While the work done by the two teams may have seemed mostly cosmetic, the small changes had a dramatic impact on CRI residents. Clients within CRi’s program had a hand in picking all the new colors in their bedrooms and living spaces, allowing a feeling of autonomy and choice. “Thank you for putting a smile on their faces, the joy will last in their minds,” said Eunice Wanyu, CRi Program Manager in Manassas. “Thank you will really never be enough.”

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