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Mobile Response Center brings needed supplies to Woodstock

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Some people don’t know if they will have enough diapers for their children or enough laundry detergent to provide clean clothes for their family.

Once a month, the needy in Woodstock are relieved of their worries thanks to the arrival of the Catholic Charities Mobile Response Center vehicle.

“It puts a happy face on them when they see the Mobile Response Center vehicle,” said Brian Mason, Mobile Response Outreach Coordinator for Catholic Charities. “They know they’re good for a few weeks. It takes a lot of pressure off, especially if they have young children.”

While hurricanes and other natural disasters often changes its route, the vehicle usually takes needed supplies to more than 300 people in the Woodstock area each month.

The 26-foot Ford F550 is packed at the St. Lucy Project warehouse in Manassas. The vehicle rotates between Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Charities in Arlington, Washington and Baltimore.

By the time it makes its journey from Manassas to Woodstock, a line has formed at 207 N. Main St. at least an hour before it arrives. Items are distributed from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Catherine Hassinger, director of Community Services, Catholic Charities, said it is nonstop for the first hour. The vehicle goes to the St. John Bosco Catholic Outreach Center every third Tuesday.

The most requested item is laundry detergent. Other requests include diapers, trash bags, large diapers and household cleaners.

“Laundry detergent is a staple,” said Hassinger. “It’s needed to maintain a clean household and is also pretty expensive, so when they’re already stretched thin, it’s needed.”

Hassinger said the vehicle was used in Woodstock from November 2017 to August 2018. It was then diverted to Florida and North Carolina to assist with hurricane relief efforts.

 “It’s exciting to see it grow and volunteers commit month after month,” she said. “It’s been gratifying.”

Dolora Stoffa, a retired nurse, is one of the many volunteers. “It’s a very rewarding visit to Woodstock,” she said. “The people are very receptive and welcoming and appreciative. The weather is iffy at times, but we all pitch in and do wherever needs to be done.” 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018