ALEXANDRIA, VA–During their annual luncheon Tuesday morning, The Twig (Together We Ignite Giving), the junior auxiliary unit for Inova Alexandria Hospital, presented a $150,000 check to the institution as part of its $1 million pledge to renovate the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.
Since The Twig was founded in 1933, this volunteer group of like-minded women have helped raise a substantial amount of funds for Inova through a variety of ways – which include operating a thrift shop in Old Town and hosting the Historic Alexandria Homes Tour there as well.
Twig’s year ends in June and normally culminates with an annual luncheon at Belle Haven Country Club, where members socialize, reflect on the past year’s achievements, and donate a hefty sum of money towards Inova Alexandria Hospital.
However, because of the ravaging pandemic, The Twig has had to adapt. In 2020, there was no in-person gathering; instead, a virtual meeting where members gave 100k to Inova’s Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness Plan.
This year, they’re back on track. The June 15th luncheon, held in the gorgeous backyard of a home along the Lower Potomac River, marked the first time in fifteen months that the organization had met in-person. Members, with their beaming smiles, were all elegantly dressed in their best attire. Everyone was in a particularly cheerful, and chatty mood, especially Anita Carson, who was being given a silver platter to honor her twenty-five year commitment to The Twig.
When Carson moved to Alexandria in the 90s, she always knew she wanted to help the community, so when one of her friends invited her to a Twig tea, she was delighted to attend and loved every second of it. Over her years of service, she’s worked in almost every committee imaginable and has been able to do great work because of her passion for volunteering.
As Carson stated in her speech she gave at the luncheon:
“My mother always said, ‘90% of life is participation;’ I challenge each of you as a new Twig, or a seasoned Twig, be that 90% in your life.”
Currently, she is on the fundraising chair where she started the Together We Ignite Giving initiative last year. With The Twig following strict COVID-19 protocols and reducing the number of shoppers in their thrift store, Carson decided to get creative.
“I launched the campaign with several other committee members to create a way for people to give to The Twig because of [these sources of revenue] we had to cancel,” Carson says.
It turned out to be a phenomenal idea, which has raised over $20,000 since November.
Looking forward, Carson hopes to serve The Twig for another 25 years.
A pair of $5,000 scholarships were also given to two registered nurses – Kenneth Daniels and Haymanot Amogne – at Inova to help them further their education. Daniels, currently a nursing administrator, hopes to eventually become a program or clinical director at Inova while Amogne is working on her B.S. in Nursing at James Madison University and later wants to obtain a Masters in Public Health.
Among these nurses and other Inova members present, the overwhelming feeling was gratitude.
“Every year [The Twig] steps up and they give a contribution where we need it for renovations or important nursing programs at the hospital,” says Don Simpson, a chairman on the hospital’s foundation board, “The Twig has been awesome.”
Yes, yes they have.