Giving Back

Buy a Stocking, Help Fight Hunger: Alexandria Craft Shop Raising Funds for Casa Chirilagua

Photo courtesy Artistic Artifacts

CORRECTION: This story was updated on Dec. 4 at 1:43 p.m. The description of how to participate has been clarified.

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Food insecurity is defined by Feeding America as “a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life.” In Alexandria, according to the Capital Area Food Bank, currently 12.3 percent of residents are experiencing food insecurity.

With the issue worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, some local businesses have stepped up to help Casa Chirilagua, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Alexandria’s Latino community. The city’s Latino population has been especially hard-hit by the virus.

Artistic Artifacts is hosting a fundraiser through Dec. 11, and all of the proceeds will benefit Casa Chirilagua. Winners will be announced the next day. Each shop staff member is making Christmas stockings, using products sold at the business. These stockings will be filled with a variety of small items found in the store or donated by others.

For the last 13 years, Casa Chirilagua has worked on developing relationships with Latino families for the purpose of strengthening bonds between community members and city services, such as the police department and City Council. They have also reached out to churches and Alexandria City Public Schools.

“Artistic Artifacts, a locally owned family business, has always been about creating community and this year our community, both local and virtual, has been an important part of who we are. The resources we have received during COVID from our Alexandria business community have been invaluable as we adjusted to new ways of doing business,” Owner Judy Gula told The Zebra Press. “Having this fundraiser for those with food insecurities served by Casa Chrilagua is just one way we can give back.”

Supporting the nonprofit now means helping more than 500 families have access to groceries and necessary household items during the pandemic. Previously, donations have funded tutoring programs for youth, English language learning opportunities, and much more.

For this raffle, one person from those who have donated toward a specific stocking will be chosen at random. That individual will receive the stocking and the gifts inside. The chances of winning can be increased by donating in increments of $10 for one or all stockings. Browse the them HERE.

Mary K. Leonard of KH Giving has had experience raising money to support good causes. She founded Mission Masks earlier this year.. For this fundraiser, she acted as a consultant, contributing her ideas and more

“Judy and her team at Artistic Artifacts are always happy to help our community,” said Leonard. “KH Giving is proud to have a partnership with them and I was happy to introduce Judy to the good folks at Casa Chirilagua.”

On Saturday, Dec. 5 at 9:30 a.m., Gula will host a special Facebook Live event, where she will show different stockings, the items inside, and explain the different techniques used to make each one. Tune in HERE.

When asked about her reaction to the fundraiser, Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gomez Schellhaas shared that the news filled her with excitement, gratitude, and inspiration.

“It’s incredible to know that this fundraiser in bringing awareness to the work we do at Casa Chirilagua and making it possible to continue this work into the new year!” she said.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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