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First Lady Barbara Bush Speaks at Shelter Fundraiser

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First Lady Barbara Bush was the guest of honor last Thursday at The Arlington Community Temporary Shelter (TACTS) fundraiser held at Marymount University in Arlington.

The program, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors," honored 28 local volunteers who work in different facets of the homelessness problem in Arlington County.

Bush told the 350 gathered that her visit would be brief because she had guests at the White House, including dignitaries and one of her 12 grandchildren.

Bush was presented with a box of Girl Scout cookies. “the last box of Samoas in Arlington County." She greeted each of the Girt Scouts from Troop 396 individually and stopped to notice nine-year-old Emily Maigeson from Page Elementary School who wore her grandmother's Scout uniform. The ankle-length olive green outfit dates back to 1930.

“They don't make them like they used to,” Bush said.

Bush was welcomed to Marymount University privately by Provost Alice Mandanis as Sister Majella Berg, R.S.H.M., president, was out of town. Linda Eckard, president of TACTS, welcomed Bush to the program referring to her as a neighbor.

The first TACTS shelter — a safe house for battered women and their children — opened in 1979 in a rented house, with room for II people. In 1983 a house was purchased and in 1988 the shelter had to turn away more than twice the number of people it could accommodate.

TACTS opened a second shelter in July 1989 which houses 16 people. This short-term emergency shelter serves homeless women and intact families in crisis situations.

TACTS is the only organization in the county which provides this particular shelter care. Referrals come from police, churches. Red Cross, Traveler’s Aid, the County Department of Human Services, and individuals. First priority is given to people whose safety is in jeopardy.

Staff members provide crisis intervention and individualized direction and sup* port for resolving problems.

Catholic Charities of the Arlington Diocese may refer people to the Arlington shelter, according to Gerry Mulligan, director of parish social ministry and the Campaign for Human Development.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1990