A Message from the Executive Director
I hope that this finds you well and that you have found fun ways to cope with the quarantine. During the past three months, COVID-19 has hit the Arlandria community (also known as Chirilagua) harder than any other area in Alexandria, and a large percentage of the adults have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Thanks to your generous donations during our Spring2Action campaign and our appeal for the Emergency COVID-19 Fund, Community Lodgings, Inc. has provided critical help in recent weeks. Your support has enabled us to distribute PPE supplies, offer new services, and deliver food and educational materials, all much-needed during this crucial time. We are busy putting the last touches on a modified version of our Summer Enrichment Camp, which will allow the youth in our programs to spend some time outdoors, safely working on crafts and other projects. They will also participate in a reading challenge and we will share more information about that soon.
Thank you again for your continuing partnership and support. Together we are tackling the challenges created by COVID-19 and opening doors for independence for low-income families in Alexandria. Please visit the COVID-19 information page on our website to read more about our COVID-19 response.
The Importance of Education: A Mother-Daughter Journey
Like many of her neighbors, Oralia works hard to give her children a good life and a solid education in her adopted neighborhood of Chirilagua. Born in Belize, she later moved to Guatemala to live with her father and grandmother. “Over there,” says Oralia, “people are poor, need food, and I would see kids who were abandoned. I didn’t want that life for my family.” So, in 2003, Oralia decided to come to the United States to give her future family a better life. Education was not free in Guatemala; only people with money could afford to go to school, and Oralia was determined to give her children a good education.
To find the rest of the story and to meet Oralia’s beautiful daughter, read more here.
Keeping Food on the Table: Julio steps up to the plate
When Covid-19 struck, neighbors came together to help each other in Chirilagua—especially Julio. Julio has always involved himself in the community and in CLI by attending all CLI meetings, all parent-teacher conferences and working hard to keep the neighborhood safe. So when Covid-19 hit Chirilagua harder than any other area of Alexandria, Julio stepped up once again. “My work hours have decreased, so I have had the opportunity to help out more, especially with food distribution.” Because a large number of Chirilagua residents have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, families struggle to put food on the table. Thanks to CLI donor contributions and grants from ACT for Alexandria, families receive regular meals, and Julio makes sure his neighbors get them. He explains: “I pick up the food boxes or breakfasts. I take them to my home. I like to keep a list of the people who will come to pick up the food. As they come, I cross off their names and contact staff once I finish with the food distribution.”
Upcoming Events and Important Information
Summer Camp starts soon! We will be holding a COVID-19 modified and safe camp from July 13th through August 7th with a combination of socially distanced outdoor activities such as nature walks and bicycle riding, and some virtual Zoom sessions that will include arts and crafts and virtual tours. Stay tuned to social media for more information on our summer programs and how you can help!
Wine Down Wednesday! Thank you for those who joined us for our first Wine Down event. We have plans to make this a more frequent event so look for information in your email or on social media.