A Legacy of Service
William "Sarge" Willis (left) and Earl Stafford visit the Community Room at Carpenter's Shelter in July
Carpenter's Shelter fondly remembers William Willis as a pillar of our volunteer community. Mr. Willis began volunteering at Carpenter's in the early 1990s and had a special place in his heart for the individuals and families served through David's Place day shelter and the Winter Shelter.
"He was impactful and a father figure to many, showering love, devotion, and seeing the value in everyone while also demanding a high standard of accountability for those being served," remembers Mary-Parker Lamm, Carpenter's Deputy Director. "He believed everyone had the opportunity to improve their lot in life and he was all in to help them do that. He showed everyone that the shelter could be a place of joy and thanksgiving."
We are so happy that in July, at the age of 98, Mr. Willis was able to take a tour of our new Shelter along with his dear friend Earl Stafford and his nephew, Carlton Willis, a former Carpenter's Shelter Board Member. Our Community Room was fittingly named in honor of Mr. Willis as a place of hospitality, good meals, friendship, sharing, caring, and love. We are so grateful that Mr. Willis touched so many lives through his service at Carpenter's Shelter. He truly will be missed.
Key to the Future
Mr. H receives the keys to his new apartment!
Mr. H recently moved into a stable place of his own for the first time in four years! Last spring, a homeless services provider from the City of Alexandria led Mr. H to Carpenter's Shelter. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but I decided to give it a try. I am really glad I did!”
Mr. H was born in Saudi Arabia, lived in Dubai as a teenager, and moved to the U.S. after getting married in 2012. At first, Mr. H and his wife were happy in their new country. Mr. H speaks proudly of his experience working for engineering firms in Sterling and Alexandria, Virginia. “I had studied engineering for two years in Dubai.”
But after a few years, both he and his wife began struggling with depression and their marriage soon ended. Without the support of family, Mr. H was unable to keep his job and afford his home. One thing led to another and Mr. H ended up living on the streets.
Carpenter’s Case Management staff worked closely with Mr. H to help him achieve his goal of permanent housing. “Initially, the thing I liked the most, after being homeless for so long, was having a mattress to sleep on. As time went on, I started to realize once I secured housing with the help of my case manager, I could go on to pursue my dream of earning my degree in engineering.”
In September, Mr. H received keys to his new apartment. “I’m really looking forward to the stability and pursuing the next phase of my life!"
Featuring our award-winning Board of Directors
Today's Guest: Mike Lyden
Mike is the Principal and Founder of Katahdin Associates. He is a retired US Navy officer and former senior NATO executive. Mike has served on the Board since 2018 and is currently our Treasurer.
What brought you to Carpenter's Shelter? After 35+ years in the Navy and NATO, moving regularly, my wife and I settled back here in Alexandria. We were very interested in getting involved in the causes we believe in. Engaging and helping where we could in the local community was one of them. I found Carpenter's Shelter through the COMPASS program and became excited about the mission and the daily impact it has on the local community. Being part of the board team and working on the Redevelopment and Strategic Planning committees, along with volunteering at the shelter, have all been very rewarding.
What would you like our readers to know about Carpenter's Shelter? Three key factors combine to enable Carpenter's success: an extraordinary, dedicated staff and board; an incredible cadre of volunteers who truly believe in the Shelter; and the generosity of the local community in their financial support. Together they deliver the winning combination that makes Carpenter's Shelter the tremendous asset it is for Alexandria and beyond.
What are you most proud of?
The accomplishments of the total Carpenter's Shelter team -- board, staff and volunteers -- have been nothing short of remarkable during my time with the organization. Two major milestone events -- the New Heights Redevelopment Campaign and The Bloom project -- were completed at the same time that the staff met the evolving challenges of the pandemic head-on and didn't miss a step in delivering their excellent service to the homeless and near-homeless across Alexandria!
Giving Tuesday is right around the corner! Giving Tuesday is the United States' largest day of giving annually. Launched in 2012 as “a day that encourages people to do good,” Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement that raises millions of dollars for charitable causes every year. With 75 countries, over 240 community campaigns in the US, and millions of people participating, it is a day of generosity following major shopping holidays that centers our focus on our communities. The important keys to remember for Giving Tuesday are:
No amount is too small. Every penny you contribute to local organizations helps them further their mission.
You can help us by sharing the information with your friends and family.
Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, November 30th. So this Giving Tuesday, consider supporting Carpenter's Shelter's programs and services, helping your homeless neighbors. This year, Kris Keydel has offered to match each donation up to $5,000. Double your gift and be one of the first to donate to us!
Volunteer Orientation Please join Community Relations Manager Jamila Smith on Zoom for our monthly volunteer orientation. If you would like to attend, please register by clicking here.
#Giving Tuesday Celebrate this day of generosity with a gift to Carpenter's Shelter to support people experiencing homelessness.
Junior League of Washington generously supports transition to permanent housing
Many thanks to the Junior League of Washington for funding gift cards for residents like the Napoles family to purchase essential items for their new home. Upon transitioning from the Shelter to permanent housing, 25 households received gift cards to Walmart or Target for such essentials as bedding, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, paper goods, children's items, and more.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson speaks with supporters of Carpenter's Shelter
On a beautiful fall evening in October, we hosted a Generous Donor event in the courtyard of our new shelter. We were excited to hear from Board members, staff, a resident, and Alexandria's Mayor Justin Wilson about how much Carpenter's Shelter has meant to the Alexandria community.
A big THANK YOU to our supporters who donated items or placed bids in our Octoberfest Online Auction! You raised $15,451 to assist our residents!
Carpenter's Halloween Party was a huge success! Thank you to Circle of Hope, Amazon Web Services, National Charity League, Marymount University, and the many volunteers who donated decorations, costumes, candy, activities, and gift bags!
Current Items Needed
Shower shoes (flip flops)
We are also collecting
Adult Pull-ups (med & lg)
Coffee-mate coffee creamers
$25 gift cards to local grocery stores (Harris Teeter, Giant, Aldi's, Safeway, Walmart) so our clients living in the community can purchase Thanksgiving dinner items.