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2023: A Year in Review

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


December 2023

Happy Holidays!

We hope you have had a healthy and prosperous year so far. During this holiday season, we reflect on how fortunate we have been (and how profoundly grateful we are) to have partners like you who have helped us continue to fulfill our mission to assist County residents in achieving self-sufficiency. Because of you, we have provided crucial safety-net services, including healthcare, eldercare, housing, financial emergency assistance, and education for immigrants, to approximately 4,300 residents this past year. Please take a moment to read (below) about what you have helped us achieve. As always, we welcome you to share your news with us as well.

Our long-time Executive Director, Agnes Saenz, stepped down in September after 32 years with Reach. We miss her but are excited about Sarah Basehart joining the team as Executive Director the first week of January. We hope you will have the chance to meet her in person soon.

Holiday Giving Project (HGP) – Last month, we directly served 290 families by providing them with food baskets and gift cards. Approximately 100 additional families received Thanksgiving meals from the food we donated to other organizations in the Holiday Giving Coalition. This month, we have committed to serving 200+ families (including over 400 children) for the December holidays by providing food baskets, toys, and gift cards. During this holiday season, our HGP partners (which include a dedicated group of faith-based organizations, schools, businesses, and individuals like you) have donated over 5,000 lbs. of food and more than $13,000 (in gift cards and financial donations) to support this effort, with pledges of more to come.

Housing Program (Jefferson & Rockland Houses) – Within the past few months, Jefferson and Rockland House have both received improvements, including furniture upgrades at Jefferson and deck-staining at Rockland. Earlier this year, two long-term Jefferson residents moved into their own apartments, fulfilling their dreams of achieving independence. Sometime later, five new residents moved to Jefferson House, four from a substance use treatment center and another from a local men’s shelter. One of the new Jefferson residents is industriously pursuing his degree in cybersecurity in hopes of landing a career in this field upon completion of his studies. Another resident enjoys having his own private room, being near public transportation, and having the ability to work on a regular basis.

Language Outreach Program (LOP) -- This past September marked our LOP’s 30th anniversary. Since 1993, LOP has served approximately 10,000 students (providing them with English as a Second Language classes, conversation instructions, and/or citizenship training). In addition, over 4,000 children of LOP students have participated in our childcare and tutoring programs. For 22 years of LOP’s 30-year history, Cecilia Rojas has been the LOP Director, and last month, Maryland TESOL honored her longtime service by awarding her a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Montgomery County Council did the same with a proclamation. Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), of which Cecilia is a founding board member, nominated her for the award.

Rockville Emergency Assistance Program (REAP) – Over the past year, REAP has continued to provide financial assistance to greater Rockville residents. FEMA again provided funds to allow us to do the same for families in other parts of Montgomery County. Hours spent on case management continued to grow. This increase is due to requests for more food referrals after the SNAP emergency allotment ended in March, and families continuing to need assistance in applying for SNAP benefits and child and energy subsidies online. In addition to this increase in services, REAP has taken full control of managing Reach’s involvement in the Montgomery County Holiday Giving Project.

Senior Reach Program – The Senior Reach Program celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, and since 1983, the program has provided homecare services to over 1,250 seniors. The program is back to providing homecare to as many seniors as it did pre-COVID, and there is once again a waitlist for those services. Senior Reach resumed hosting social activities such as luncheons, games, tech trainings, and mindfulness training this year.

Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic (MKHC) – In April, the Rotary Club of Rockville named Dr. Angeline Lazarus a Rotarian Hero, in part because of her work as the MKHC Medical Director and volunteer physician. Carmen Lezama was named MKHC’s Managing Director in October. Last month, we officially announced our plans to relocate MKHC from downtown Rockville to a larger space at 9420 Key West Avenue in spring 2024. Our future home is in a building with many medical practices near Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center. It is easily accessible by bus and car, with free onsite parking.

We hope you are proud of the work we have accomplished together and will continue to support Reach as we strive to uplift and empower members of our community. We truly appreciate your sharing of your time, talent, and treasure. If you choose to make a financial donation to Reach as part of your year-end philanthropy, we have enclosed an envelope for your convenience, or you can contribute with a credit card through the “donate” button on our website, www.CMRocks.org.

We look forward to learning about your past year and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and New Year!

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