ARLINGTON, Va. — A group of local churches have banded together to help raise $250,000 to pay rent for 250 families in need during the economic downturn.
Pastor David Hanke of Restoration Anglican Church helped organize the program, called The Church at Work in Arlington.
On Thursday, he told WUSA9 that everything began when an Arlington County social worker came forward with the idea.
"What emerged was, if we were to help with rent, that would free up some dollars," the pastor said. "We had never done something like this before but there was an opportunity for us to serve people who are experiencing real needs.”
Nine other churches joined in with Restoration Anglican.
The program provided 250 families with rent by connecting donors with the families' landlords.
According to Pastor Hanke, the support quickly gained momentum.
"I was pretty astounded by how quickly people responded," he said. "We had $100,000 within two weeks right before Easter and then another $100,000 came in right after.”
For the families receiving the help, Hanke said the support was going a long way.
"For those who had no work-from-home option, income was immediately not an option," he said. "We really saw it as stepping into a moment of need that emerged.”
Each family went through a vetting process before receiving the aid, with social services proving a helping hand in Arlington.
"We had folks who were in the system, who were known by social workers and who were saying this is a real need to give," he said.
With the economy still facing some concerns, the pastor said the donation effort helped send a powerful message.
"I think what I’ve noticed is there is a real desire to be generous and to help," he said. "At this particular moment there is a real desire for partnership and for moments of grace.”
Aside from Restoration Anglican Church, the program also includes:
- Washington Community Fellowship
- Emmanuel Presbyterian Church
- Incarnation Anglican Church
- St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
- Redeemer Church of Arlington
- McLean Bible Church: Arlington
- Portico Church Arlington
- Trinity Presbyterian Church
- Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
Pastor Hanke told WUSA that the rent program will go until at least the end of June.
Anyone interested in donating can visit this link.