Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA)
Annandale Christian Community for Action

Ruffing Scholarship

In honor and memory of ACCA founders Emily and Fred Ruffing, we award a scholarship each summer to local high school graduates who have overcome disabilities. 

Lila Beth Stern is ACCA’s Ruffing Scholar for 2021. Lila is a graduate of Fairfax High School where she participated in several sports, including crew, swimming, and volleyball and was elected President of the Green Club, a group that promotes pro-environmental activities. She was also active in the Girl Scouts, where she earned silver and gold awards. After 11th grade, Lila was diagnosed with dyslexia which is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, spelling and decoding. Despite these challenges, Lila achieved a 3.53 GPA over four years, and a 4.5 GPA in her senior year.

      Lila wrote us the following note after being selected for the scholarship:

Thank you so much Ruffing scholarship committee for selecting me. This scholarship is going to take away a lot of my financial stress. This scholarship means a lot to me because it is meant to support students with disabilities. With my disabilities, I had to work extra hard in school. Learning how to read at a very late age, and did not have my diagnoses until the end on my junior year of high school. Receiving this scholarship makes me feel understood. After high school, I will be studying at Virginia Tech and majoring in Agribusiness and Real Estate. Thank you again.

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Lila as she begins her studies at Virginia Tech!
Volunteer Fairfax 9/11 Day of Service

For over 20 years, Volunteer Fairfax has hosted its annual fall volunteering event, VolunteerFest, to mobilize volunteers across Fairfax County to help nonprofits and government agencies accomplish wish list projects, meet new volunteers and secure donation needs. We are honored to work with Volunteer Fairfax on a special day of service happening across the country. This year VolunteerFest will take place on Saturday, September 11 or Patriot Day, a National Day of Service and Remembrance. 

ACCA's at-home project will ask volunteers to assemble first aid kits from the safety of their homes. The first aid kits you make will be distributed to families who receive food from the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) food pantry.  Kits can be assembled anytime before 9/11. Kits can be dropped off at ACCA between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm on September 11. This is a good project for scouts or youth groups!

Stuff the Bus

According to the Feeding America Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity projections (published March 29, 2021), the food insecurity rate in Fairfax County is at 7.4% in 2021, up from 5.8% in 2019. That means that about 86,716 people in Fairfax are experiencing food insecurity.

Stuff the Bus began in 2011 in response to a critical need to help restock the shelves of local food pantries after the holidays. This collaborative program is a partnership between Fairfax County Government and local nonprofits. Now in its 10th year, Stuff the Bus continues to support food assistance efforts for families and households. Since inception, Stuff the Bus has collected over 220 tons of food to feed hungry people in Fairfax County.

The next Stuff the Bus events to benefit ACCA will take place on Saturday, September 11, in honor of National Day of Service, and on Saturday, October 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Find out more about the locations for these events.
ACCA Help for Refugee Families

As many of our friends and neighbors know, four churches – John Calvin Presbyterian, Little River United Church of Christ, Peace Lutheran and Ravensworth Baptist-launched an initiative in 2017 to assist Afghan SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) families to resettle in Fairfax County.  Known as the Homework Club (HWC), we focused on helping children with their school work and mentoring and tutoring the adults in English. The advent of COVID 19 in 2020 led us to move our work on-line.

Recent events in Afghanistan have led to a sharp rise in arrivals of refugee families in this area. Just last week, ACCA volunteers stepped up to help a family with two babies by helping them find an apartment and providing essential supplies for their household to get through the weekend. The Child Development Center staff provided toys for the babies. Special thanks to ACCA volunteers Marie Markey, Gail Coleman, Chuck Woods, and Jean Rackowski for their quick work. We havereceived enough donations to equip their entire apartment including furniture and small appliances.

This is just one of perhaps hundreds who will soon be resettled in our neighborhoods. The families will be coming with Special Immigrant Visas. This means they have helped the U.S. in Afghanistan in various ways and are in danger of being killed by the Taliban as the U.S. leaves the country. They are here legally and are assigned to a resettlement agency. Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is the agency we have worked with through the Homework Club.  

If you as an individual or your church is interested in helping families from Afghanistan resettle visit this website. There are opportunities for a church or other organization to help with a Home Setup or a Welcome Home Gift Box.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Nadia Fitzcharles (, Marie Monsen ( or Carol Weber ( We are also continuing to recruit volunteers to help with the Homework Club families when we start in-person sessions again, hopefully in September. We need help with transportation, reading or playing games with young children, tutoring older children, and teaching English to adults.
CROP Hunger Walk

Planning is in progress for an in-person 2021 Annandale CROP Hunger Walk on October 16 at Lake Accotink.  Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in the picnic area near the Lake Accotink marina.  Proceeds from the walk benefit ACCA as well as Church World Service.
In addition to the walk at Lake Accotink, walkers will be able to participate virtually.  This means that walkers can walk on their own or with close contacts at a place of their choosing.  Virtual participants are encouraged to walk on Saturday morning October 16 unless they need to walk at another time.  

Set up your team now at  Walkers can register online and use CWS’ tools to reach out to donors by email and invite online donations.
Anniversary Celebration

This year Annandale United Methodist Church (AUMC) is celebrating its 175th anniversary! An event to celebrate this milestone will occur on Sunday, October 3, 2021. 

As part of the anniversary celebrations the landmark Little White Church will receive some capital improvements and new signage. The Little White Church, the congregation’s second building, was built between 1868 and 1870 after the original church building was destroyed during the Civil War. The Little White Church is an Annandale landmark at the corner of Gallows Road and Columbia Pike. It hosted the town’s first public school and served as the worship home for the church until the brick church was built in 1946.

The cost of the anniversary project is $30,000 and the fundraising goal of $50,000 for "the 175th Little White Church Project" is underway to ensure future upkeep. Those who give $5,000 or more will be recognized on a plaque on the site. If you are able to make a gift, please denote "LWC-175TH ANNIVERSARY”. You may send your donations to Annandale UMC, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003.
Mark Your Calendar

September 11 - VolunteerFest First Aid Kits due at ACCA Food Pantry - 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
September 11 - Stuff the Bus Food collection at various locations - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
October 3 - Annandale United Methodist Church 175th Anniversary Celebration
Child Development Center

During the pandemic, the ACCA Child Development Center(CDC) continues to provide excellent early childhood education to families in the community. As of April, there were 194 children enrolled.

Many of the parents who use ACCA are frontline workers with few child-care options. To remain open during the pandemic, many of the staff brought their school-age children to the center so the children could log on for virtual school while their parents worked their shifts.

The CDC serves many of Annandale’s working-class, immigrant families. About 90 percent of the children enrolled in ACCA — all aged zero to five — are eligible for government subsidies and, for a large majority, English is their second language.

ACCA is proud of our CDC and its long history of giving our youngest neighbors an excellent foundation for a successful future.
Ministry Updates
Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together/Arlington-Fairfax-Falls Church (RT-AFF) has been using small teams of volunteers and contractors to make critical repairs in small projects through the Rebuilding Together Express program. Teams of up to 10 volunteers could make repairs or do yard work in September and October. RT-AFF staff continues to assess the list of homeowners who have requested help with repairs.

Family Emergency Assistance

In July, 29 households received financial assistance from ACCA for rent and utilities. The total amount provided for the month was $36,335. ACCA volunteers also processed federal assistance funds of $506,667 to 81 households.

Food Pantry

In July, ACCA provided 67 food deliveries to 172 individuals. 

Furniture Ministry

Beginning in the spring, the furniture program was able to successfully collaborate with the County's Coordinated Service Program in making deliveries and pickups of vitally needed furniture to the clients. Pickups and deliveries will resume in September. Contact for more information. Acceptable donations are listed here.


In the month of July the combined ACCA-Shepherd’s Center medical transportation program provided 61 two-way rides. n July, there were 61 two-way rides. This is the highest number since February of 2020, and the program was able to fill every request.
In its 54th year, ACCA continues to provide high quality child care and serves as a principal source of emergency assistance, including food, furniture and financial support, for our vulnerable neighbors.
ACCA remains committed to the challenge of Jesus, as described in Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”