Dear Friend,

With the changing of the seasons, May brings many blessings. It is also a time to celebrate "mom" and honor our veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In this month's Caring Chronicles, you'll meet a mom who is now supporting her two kids on her own after needing our homeless services at one time. Additionally, you'll learn about a husband and wife and their veteran-owned cookie company that bakes their dedication to military causes in every cookie.
Our 2020 Gratitude Report
In 2020 Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas served over 11,000 individuals across all of our services programs. But we know that we couldn't do the work our 800 employees do everyday without your continued support.

As we look back over our 125 years and how VOACC has grown, we know that it is because of you that our church without walls continues to transform the lives of our vulnerable neighbors. And for that we are grateful.

You can view the report online here.
When Hurricane Katrina displaced Irma Castro and her two sons Anthony and Joshua (now 21 and 19), she found herself in Loudoun County, Virginia. Unfortunately, she also found her and the boys without a permanent place to stay.

After a short stay with some family, she found hope and a roof over her head in the Emergency Shelter at the Loudoun Homeless Services Center. Irma recalls what she felt at that time, “I was so relieved because I truly was alone with just my kids.”
The Castro’s spent three months in the shelter and were then moved to our Transitional Housing, a two-year program to help get her back on her feet. 
Irma and the boys were so grateful. “They treated me as if I were a part of their family. I felt as if maybe I could finally stop worrying about whether my kids and I would always be homeless.”

After those two years, the Castro’s found a place to call home and have been doing great ever since. Currently, Irma works in retail, Joshua is an EMT and Anthony will be starting college in the Fall. It's success stories like this that warm our hearts and are the reason we do what we do.
"I am forever grateful for the love the Transitional Housing showed my kids and I.”
- Irma Castro
Operation Cookies is a company founded on the comforting power of cookies. While her then-boyfriend (now husband) Paul was in the military overseas, Angie sent over 20 giant care packages packed with her homemade cookies. It was out of that love and care that Operation Cookies was born. That mission of sending love continues to drive Operation Cookies' mission today.

Operation Cookies focuses on the classics that remind you of home, like their M&M chocolate chip, Reese's Peanut Butter chip, and Ande's Mint Candy cookies. Angie also bakes her take on the classic lemon cookie.

True to its founding spirit, the company also has a charitable component. Every month, Operation Cookies makes monthly donations to a range of veterans' organizations, such as the Fisher House Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

And VOACC is honored that we will be their charity of choice for the month of May.
Angie & Paul Davisson
Cookies are sold in boxes as small as a half dozen and come individually wrapped. Operation Cookies ships throughout the U.S. and all military bases, Army Post Office (APO), and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses. Shipping times range from two to seven days and longer for overseas.

From now until May 31st, you can support Operation Cookies, VOACC and the vulnerable veterans and families we serve while enjoying some delicious cookies by making an order and sharing this information with anyone and everyone you know.

When ordering cookies, make sure you use the code "VOACC" at checkout. You'll receive a 10% discount, free shipping on orders of $50 or more. That's not all! At the end of the month, Operation Cookies will also donate 25% of all proceeds back to VOACC!

To order, visit or click the link below.
"Without the bravery of these men and women, the way of life we all know today would not exist. It is for the sacrifices of those in uniform, any uniform, that we will always support - our military, first responders, nurses, doctors – everyone who willingly sacrifices for our country.."
– Paul Davisson, Veteran & Co-owner, Operation Cookies
VOACC appreciates our veterans, which is why we support them through a variety of services and programs including our Maple Court Veterans Transitional Housing Apartments in Durham, NC and our Supported Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) programs in Virginia and North Carolina, to name a few.

But we also participate in community outreach when we can, and just recently we were proud to be a part of a few special projects.
In Cumberland County, NC, VOACC was part of the Veterans Stand Down. These events are typically one to three day events during where Veteran Affairs staff and volunteers provide food, clothing and health screenings to homeless and at-risk veterans.

Additionally, veterans receive referrals for health care, housing solutions, employment, substance use treatment, mental health counseling and other essential services.
In April, VOACC co-hosted a webinar with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Our President & CEO Russ Snyder helped moderate a panel of experts who discussed the topic of "Resilience in a Pandemic & COVID-19 in a Community of Service".

They discussed issues such as dealing with stress and handling our emotions, as well as the importance of vaccinations and staying connected to your community.
You can view a PowerPoint of the presentation here.
Monday, May 3rd, 1:00-2:00pm

Tour our Residential Re-entry Center program, a community re-entry center that helps federal returning citizens effectively transition back into society.
You can now purchase tickets and register for VOICE of Faith, our largest annual fundraiser in support of our health and human services programs that empower Maryland's most underserved communities. 

This year's virtual fundraiser will be held from June 3rd through the 17th and will consist of a virtual wine tasting, a trivia night, and a livestream event.

We are excited to announce that Former NFL Defensive Back and Super Bowl Champion Clifton Crosby will be our keynote speaker during our virtual Red, White & You wine tasting event on June 10th! Don't miss out this awesome opportunity to have fund and enjoy wine from Napa Valley, CA while supporting those most in need!

**Tickets for the wine tasting must be purchased by May 24th!**

We are also very excited to announce that former Baltimore Raven Super Bowl Champ and Pro Football Hall of Fame Free Safety, Ed Reed will be our keynote speaker during our Livestream event on June 17th.

You can purchase tickets and register for all of our VOICE of Faith events now by visiting or by clicking the link below.
Operation Backpack® is our initiative to fill in the gap for our region’s most vulnerable children. Your donations help us provide backpacks, school supplies and funding for academic enrichment to more than 2,500 homeless and underprivileged children in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the Carolinas.

Together, we can help ensure these children achieve success despite their circumstances. This year we will continue to focus on the needs of students during COVID-19.

We're excited to announce that we will be partnering with Brookfield Properties to make our initiative even bigger this year. Our 2021 Operation Backpack® goal is to raise $40,000 to support even more kids in need.

To learn more about how you can get involved this year, visit us online at
Thank you for reading this edition of Caring Chronicles! If you would like to provide feedback or have any questions, please contact us at