Local nonprofit organizations shared their stories and resources Saturday at Nonprofit Day, sponsored by Verdun Adventure Bound and Breeze Printing.
Approximately 12 nonprofits and about 40 individuals from those organizations sat down in the morning at Verdun to find ways to work together and to help raise awareness of their causes. In the afternoon, the event was opened to the public in an effort to showcase their efforts.
Mike and Liesa Dodson, of New Salem Baptist Church, were representing Hope for Appalachia, a nonprofit that provides hope boxes for schools, packed with items to help the low poverty region.
The Culpeper-based nonprofit has grown to include teams in Virginia and North Carolina and they are providing more than 20,000 Hope boxes to 50 schools this year.
“Our message in the schools is one of hope and of joy,” Mike Dodson said. “We spend a day in the schools, having fun with the kids. We share the hope of Jesus Christ with each child.”
Dodson said that the Nonprofit Day was a great way to spread the word about Hope for Appalachia and to meet others who share a similar passion.
“Many people I’m sure don’t know about us and I don’t know about many nonprofits,” Dodson said. “It’s a chance to share and maybe come together and share both resources and ideas.”
Ed Lyons, Ministry Advancement Coordinator, of the Persecution Project works with a persecuted church in Sudan providing pastor training, Bible distribution and emergency relief supplies.
“We’re international, but still locally unless they go to a church, they probably haven’t heard of us,” Lyons said. “Advocacy is one of the things we do as well. So telling people about the atrocities going on in this region is important.”
The Persecution Project is the largest supplier of medicine to that area as well, and they work in providing much-needed water by digging wells. Lyons said that it’s important to help those in countries that are impoverished because despite their hardships, they still have a passion that can be shared.
“Even though they are in desperate situations, they have that joy Mike was talking about,” Lyons said. “It’s something our country is lacking nowadays, so it’s good to bring that message back.”
Ann Kloeckner, executive director of Legal Aid Works, said her work is more local, but their exposure is just as thin. They’ve been in the Culpeper community since 1980, but still have people unaware that they exist.
“We’re just in the court all the time, and we’re not out in the community as much. It’s important for us to do events like this so people see us besides just in the courthouse,” she said. “We serve a really big region and this is one of the few opportunities in the Culpeper region that allows nonprofits to just spend time relaxing and learning from each other,. It’s a really great one-stop shop.”
Marty Bywaters-Baldwin, Center Manager for Virginia Career Works – Culpeper Center of Rappahannock Goodwill, said many residents hear Goodwill and think immediately of their thrift store. There’s more to their mission.
“The only way we are to do our mission is collaboration, working with other nonprofits and companies,” Bywaters-Baldwin said. “It’s always good to network and share how we can work together. The Thrift Store just helps us fund our mission of helping people get to work in the community. That’s the heart and passion of what we do.”
They’ll be hosting a regional job fair April 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center. The job fair will feature 20 employers and will be held from high school and college students from 10 to 11 a.m. and then open to the public.
Mike Timm, with Verdun Adventure Bound, praised the efforts of the nonprofits and the partnerships of local businesses, like Dave Jenkins of Firestone in Warrenton. Jenkins has his own business specializing in sound and equipment and donated his services for the many performances hosted in the afternoon.
“These guys do a great job for kids out here, I’ve said for many years there’s not enough for kids to do in the county, Fauquier or Culpeper,” Jenkins said.
Adriana Bustamante, of Theatrical Artists, said the Nonprofit Day helps expand their reach.
“I know there’s a lot of activities that are going on here and maybe a lot of children that are looking for things to do,” Bustamante said. “I think it’s just great to have the opportunity to expand where we reach out to.”