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A-SPAN

A-SPAN Ministry to the Homeless


A-SPAN is an Arlington County program that supports the needs of the street people in our community. A-SPAN stands for Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. They are not an agency of the County government. They provide a wide variety of services to the homeless via a network of organizations.  These services include: food, clothing, hygiene items, obtaining personal identification, showers, washer, dryer, free local calls, voice mail answering service, mail-drop, counseling, and referrals to other services.
 
Central United Methodist is one of several organizations that is assisting ASPAN in providing needed services, counseling and support. We are offering our Hitt Fellowship Hall one morning a week to serve as a counseling center. In addition A-SPAN offers clothing and hygiene supplies to these clients.
 
Central is providing a hot meal as well as a refuge from the weather and the street during this time. Breakfast preparations begin about 6:00a.m. so that hot food is ready when people begin arriving.  In addition the Central UMC family is preparing a sack lunch so that as the A-SPAN clients leave they will have at least one more meal for the day.  Typically breakfast is fried potatoes, egg casserole, toast, juice and coffee. Oat meal, grits or cereal are also available. Later in the morning hot chili or other items are added. Those interested in helping can contact the church office or show up some Friday morning and just pitch in.
 
ASPAN provides a counseling staff to assist these visitors. During the time we have been involved we know of many tangible benefits that addressed the needs of these clients:
  • assistance provided for locating a VA benefit check
  • several clients have found jobs
  • a number have obtained housing
  • others have received medical assistance
A member from Central is coordinating volunteers to assure that we have people to prepare the sack lunches and breakfast.
 
We are frequently hearing that this is the highlight of the week or the only meal someone receives. What more rewarding way to demonstrate God’s love.
 
To learn more about ASPAN and their programs you might visit their web page: www.a-span.org
 

 
May 2010 - CUMC Inducted into the A-SPAN Volunteer Hall of Fame!
 
Central United Methodist Church was inducted into the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) Volunteer Hall of Fame at their 2010 Spring Event.  The award stated that "CUMC established a safe and welcoming environment for homeless individuals at their church every Friday morning for the past two years. Not only have the healthy meals provided been beneficial to these individuals, but the regular contact with smiling and friendly faces has built trust which has in turn allowed A-SPAN and County staff to assist many more people in need."
 
For more details, please view the full story here: http://www.a-span.org/springEvent.html