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In The News …

Law Change Intended To Spur School System Food Donations (Leesburg Today): “Some altered language in the annual spending bill that funds the US Department of Agriculture will most likely translate into more donated food for local food banks and pantries [...] The change clarifies the law to make it clear that public school districts can donate excess food without any concern that they are not covered under the Good Samaritan Act, which protects donors who give to food banks in good faith from all liability.” To find a list of Catalogue nonprofits focused on hunger and housing, head this way.

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DC’s Mental Health

Did you catch Stephen Baron, director of the District’s Department of Mental Health, yesterday morning on the Kojo Nnamdi Show?

JIM ASENDIO: DC’s Mental Health Department has spent 37 years under the cloud of a major lawsuit, resulted from a study that determined more than half of the 3,000 patients being treated at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, the District-run facility for the mentally ill in Southeast, did not belong there. That lawsuit is close to being settled now that Saint Elizabeths had been transformed into a much smaller institution, serving approximately 280 patients. At its height, Saint Elizabeths served more than 3,600 patients. Well, the city now treats approximately 98 percent of the District’s patients in community-based health clinics.

STEPHEN BARON: State hospitals probably our most restricted form of treatment. There’s been a tremendous increase in both the medications, the commitment and our ability to provide the wide range of services individuals need in the community. There are services that are offered now routinely in public mental health systems that were not available back then and came out because of the commitment to move people responsibly into the community.

[...] The agreement that established the department addressed a number of things. One was the need to build a robust community-based system, have a robust psychiatric emergency response system, have a new and improved Saint Elizabeths Hospital, to have inpatient care take place in community hospitals, not in the state hospital, all things we’ve been able to do.

Do you concur with the agreement regarding the most critical needs for the Department now that Saint Elizabeth’s has been both improved and down-sized? And have you experienced this increase in DC’s “commitment and our ability to provide the wide range of services individuals need in the community?” And how can a public community-based model best be implemented in urban areas versus more suburban or rural areas?

On the private side, Catalogue has featured 34 non-profits focused on health, mental health, and aging — often dedicated to keeping individuals in their neighborhoods and homes. Every year, the Women’s Center in Vienna offers individual and family psychotherapy and support groups to 2,600 clients for whom such counseling would otherwise be out of reach. And in Gaithersburg, Child Center and Adult Services, Inc. offers mental health care for low-income children and adults at three clinics, which also provide bilingual therapists.

For residential services, L’Arche Greater Washington operates four homes for low-income residents who have intellectual disabilities, often accompanied by physical disabilities and mental health issues. And speaking to another critical need, CrisisLink handles more than 53,000 calls per year from people contemplating suicide and confronting traumatic loss.

Asking, Knowing

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he is one who asks the right questions.

– anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, born today in 1908

As the true method of knowledge is experiment, the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences.

– poet William Blake, born today in 1757

Day of Giving

Happy Thanksgiving, Greater Washington! If you’re looking to support or volunteer with an organization in your neighborhood on this coming holiday weekend, we have the list for you. Check out what’s needed and what you can do at some of Catalogue’s human service nonprofits. (And we’ll be back to our regular GoodWorks programming on Monday)

Carpenter’s Shelter: Alexandria, VA

Each family, more than 100 in total, in the Aftercare program receives a basket full of essential ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. Items needed range from boxes of stuffing to mashed potatoes to ziploc bags. Full list right here:

Doorways for Women and Families: Arlington, VA

Doorways, which strives to end domestic violence and homelessness, offers 6 ways to help out throughout this holiday season, including sponsoring a family and purchasing cards drawn by a child in the housing program.

FACETS Cares: Fairfax, VA

Seeking cooks for Turkeys and side dishes (ingredients provided) on November 22-24, volunteers to assemble and deliver food on Thanksgiving, AND food drive assistants that weekend! All info is right here.

Food for Others: Fairfax, VA

A full calendar of volunteer opportunities from 9 AM to 5 PM today and tomorrow includes directing truck traffic, sorting food, and distributing it to clients. Interested? Read the full schedule here or email

Lorton Community Action Center: Lorton, VA

In serving clients of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, LCAC is not seeking the traditional American Thanksgiving provisions. A complete list is right here. The drop-off date was last Sunday, but give LCAC a call (contact info below) to see if they have everything that they need.

Manna Food Center: Gaithersburg, MD

Check out Channel 9′s report on Manna’s “need for turkeys” (and other protein items) from earlier this month. You can drop off food donations from 8 AM to 4 PM today and tomorrow, but locations are closed on Thursday.

Miriam’s Kitchen: Washington, DC

All volunteer spots are booked for Thanksgiving, but do check out the coverage of Miriam’s Kitchen on USA Today. This holiday, Miriam’s will be serving 150 homeless people its first all-organic or local Thanksgiving dinner (turkey included).

Our Daily Bread: Fairfax, VA

Every Saturday, November 5 through December 10, Our Daily Bread and Combined Properties host a fall food drive; full list of locations here. You also can sponsor a family through the holiday season.

Thanksgiving Week

Friendships begin with liking or gratitude — roots that can be pulled up.

– English novelist George Eliot

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

– 35th US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This Thanksgiving week, we’re giving thanks for the incredible nonprofit community of Greater Washington — for cleaner rivers and parklands, innovative schools and enrichment programs, diverse theater and dance performances, and aid for our region’s neediest residents.

Are you a Catalogue nonprofit with particular volunteer or support needs this week? Let us know so that we can feature you right here!

Around Town: November 19-20

Have a good weekend, Greater Washington! We have a bundle of events coming right up …

Help the Homeless Walkathon (National Mall between 9th and 12th Street)

On Saturday morning, join in the nation’s largest walk and benefit a Catalogue nonprofit: Samaritan Inns, The Dwelling Place, Miriam’s Kitchen, and Bright Beginnings are all taking part. Register here — it’s a great way to give back just before Thanksgiving.
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Teachers & Students

From “With Hispanic students on the rise, Hispanic teachers in short supply” in yesterday’s Post:

The surge in Hispanic students across the nation is forcing schools to reckon with a deep shortage of teachers who share their cultural heritage.

More than 21 percent of schoolchildren are Hispanic, experts report, compared with 7 percent of teachers. No other racial or ethnic minority group has such a wide disparity. In the struggle to close this gap, the stakes are high: Research suggests that a more diverse faculty might lead to better attendance, fewer suspensions and higher test scores. [...] Of 126,000 students in Maryland’s second-largest system [Prince George's], 21 percent are Hispanic. But among teachers, the share is 2 percent.
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In The News …

DC Poverty Rates Could Increase With New Measurement (DCentric): “A new government method of measuring poverty takes into account many factors the old rate didn’t: geography, taxes, government benefits, housing costs and other expenses. For DC, this means many more people would qualify as poor due to the city’s high cost of living.” DC Fiscal Policy Institute analyst Jenny Reed points out that median rent has risen by 35%, while incomes have increased by less than half of that. DC, along with Detroit, is one of only two US cities to have experienced a rise in housing in the past year. “A state-by-state breakdown of the new measure isn’t yet available, but regional data show western states have the highest rate, followed by the southern region.”

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Feature of the Month: E-Links

Welcome to mid-November! Just one week ago today, we introduced you to our new class of Catalogue nonprofits. So now, we’d like to show how you can learn even more about them online.

First, head to the “Our Nonprofits” section of the Catalogue homepage and click on any of the five categories. Let’s go with “Nature.” From there, let’s get to know one of our new organizations: Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. And if you scroll down on ACE’s page, you will see this menu:






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