Class helps poor of Fairfax: Mason aids with service and donations

by   Posted on April 19th, 2010 in Uncategorized  and tagged

By Genevieve Timpone, Broadside Correspondent

Although Forbes Magazine lists Fairfax among the most affluent of America’s counties, there are still many individuals in the area who are homeless. The Lamb Center strives to be a safe haven for those in need.

The Lamb Center is a Christian-based homeless shelter in Fairfax, Va. The organization allows the area’s homeless to get out of the elements, and provides a number of services, including meals, laundry, showers, phone access, a prayer area and mental outreach programs.

The shelter also provides work-related help to its guests, such as resume drafting and the use of its address as a place of contact.

George Mason University’s COMM 330: Principles of Public Relations class is working with the Lamb Center by collecting donations.

According to junior communication major Nicole Carnemella, a student in the class, the class has not had much luck in receiving donations. Many stores they went to were either unwilling or legally unable to provide donations.

“Other than a few donations from friends and family, we don’t have that much,” said Carnemella, noting that the group had only collected about two boxes of supplies.

The COMM 330 class is not the only place on campus where students are trying to help the Lamb Center.

Members of Mason’s Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) volunteer at the shelter every Thursday. Nick Basinger, a freshman psychology major, explains that the goal of CCM’s volunteer work is to listen to the guests and act as a support group. Basinger says the shelter sees anywhere from 100 to 150 people per day.

“For many people, this is the only place they can go, so we see a lot of the same faces each day,” said Basinger. “You get really close to the people that go there and really get to know them.”

Liz Kallman, a junior nursing major and a student leader for CCM, said, “Sometimes we help out with other duties if they are understaffed, such as helping with cleaning, or washing dishes; but our main purpose is to talk, as many of these people have no one to listen to them. We may not be able to help them monetarily, but we can show them by coming in week after week that they are not alone and that there are people out there who care about them.”

The Lamb Center relies on donations. Items accepted for donations include basics, such as toothbrushes, laundry detergent and clothing, as well as gift cards and monetary donations. The full list of accepted items is located on the organization’s website.

The class will be collecting donations between now and April 25. You may contact Carnemella at to drop off donations or to receive more information about you can help.

There are many opportunities to volunteer at the Lamb Center. In order to volunteer, please contact Dave Larrabee or visit the Lamb Center’s website at The Lamb Center depends on the selflessness of Fairfax’s residents and any help is greatly appreciated.

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