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Carpenter’s kitchen is run entirely by groups of volunteers. Each group comes up with the menu, purchases the food, prepares each meal, and cleans up afterwards. Last year, our volunteers prepared 834 meals, saving Carpenter’s Shelter over $200,000 annually. Our kitchen volunteers are made up of a variety of groups including local businesses, religious groups, individual volunteers, and our Board of Directors.

This past Thursday, several of our board members prepared and served dinner to our residential clients. This dinner was a great way for the Board of Directors to serve our clients and show off their skills in the kitchen. A dinner of roast chicken, roast beef, scalloped potatoes, green beans, green salad, rolls, pie and cookies was served.

The purpose of our Board of Directors is to provide guidance and expertise for the shelter, and the best way for them to do so is to meet the people they are serving. Our Board of Directors is made up of a variety of individuals that are dedicated to giving back to their community, and we appreciate them coming together to serve our clients a great meal. We are very thankful to have such an engaged Board of Directors.

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Amazon is an invaluable resource for us at the shelter. It allows us to keep our donors up to date on our needs while giving them the ability to shop quickly and affordably. 

Take advantage of Amazon’s great programs and shop our wish list today! We are always in need of toiletry items such as deodorant, toothpaste, and tooth brushes; we also have needs for special items such as flash drives, which our clients use to store their resumes when job hunting.

Carpenter’s Shelter Amazon Wish List

Our wish list is updated consistently based on our needs. For any questions, please contact Demi Henry

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Carpenter’s is currently recruiting applicants for our Development Internship.

Our internship program offers real world, hands on experience, while giving students the opportunity to further their skills outside of the classroom. The internship will begin on September 15th and go through December 19th. The position requires a commitment of 20 hours per week, with flexible days and times.

All serious applicants may send a thoughtful cover letter and resume to Courtney Bishop.

For a more detailed description of the position please click here, or visit our Idealist page.

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Fall is quickly approaching and with that comes a new school year. The children at Carpenter’s do not lead the same lives as their peers. Many are shuffled around and change schools regularly due to the effects of homelessness. This can, at times, lead to anxiety, depression, or the development of a learning disorder. With the generous donations from our supporters, Carpenter’s is able to provide some normalcy for the children at the shelter. The gift of new clothes and a cool back pack can instantly light up their face and make going back to school a little less scary for them.

In order to reduce redundancies of back to school services in the city of Alexandria, Carpenter’s will only be providing back to school supplies to our residents. Our community case managed clients are being connected with other Back to School community programs in order to gather supplies. Though the way we are operating the Back to School event has changed, the need of our residents is as important as ever. This year, we ask that gift card donations be made in lieu of school supplies.

On August 27th our residential children will get together to celebrate back to school where they will receive school supplies, new school clothes generously provided by Circle of Hope members, and enjoy an ice cream social.

Please donate Target and Walmart gift cards to ensure that our children have a successful school year. For more information, please email Liz Salter at

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Carpenter’s is excited to partner with Nando’s Peri-Peri (702 King St. in Alexandria, VA) on Thursday, July 31st for our first ever restaurant night. Join us from 11am to 6pm when 40% of all the proceeds will benefit the shelter.

Carpenter’s first teamed up with Nando’s last winter when they provided lunch to the entire staff. It was their way of thanking Carpenter’s employees for our work in the community and it was a wonderful way to bring our staff together during the holiday season. Nando’s then joined Carpenter’s in April at one of our largest fundraisers, Cook-Off. They were one of 26 restaurants who provided delicious samplings for our guests at the Birchemere. Nando’s also regularly serves lunch at the shelter for our residents. They are a fantastic community partner who always finds unique ways to assist with our mission to end homelessness in the Northern Virginia area.

Dinning at Nando’s is a great way to show your support to a local business who means business when it comes to helping the nonprofit community. So grab your friends and family and join us on Thursday, July 31st from 11am-6pm at Nando’s.

Please bring the above flyer with you to Nando’s in order for your contribution to count. Several staff members will be outside of Nando’s right before lunch and dinner passing out flyers as well. We hope that you’ll be able to join us and we look forward to seeing you!

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This past weekend we hosted a community resource fair at the shelter. Our clients were able to get information and connect with various local businesses and people in the community. Events like this are beneficial to those living at the shelter as it is a way for them to network with many potential employers and gather necessary information about higher education and other services offered in the city.

There were a total of 49 attendees, many of whom were able to pick up job applications and learn more about services in the area. We had 12 presenters, gave out 7 door prizes and provided lunch. Together We Bake and Northern Virginia Community College were just some of the community partners in attendance that provided our clients with some beneficial information about workforce training programs and enrolling in school.

We’d like to thank the following community partners for attending the community resource fair:

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Recently we spoke with volunteers Sue and Joyce about their experiences at Carpenter’s Shelter. Both volunteers have been with the shelter for 25 years, serving lunch twice a week to our clients. We are so thankful to them for their years of dedication and service to Carpenter’s.

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s? What attracted you to the shelter?
Joyce: We’ve both been here about 25 years. My husband and I got involved in the beginning. We had a business and I found that I could take some time from that and help out in the kitchen and well, here we are. Sue: My husband and I moved here from Arkansas, and I thought this would be a nice way to get involved.

What part of volunteering do you find rewarding?
Joyce: Being here with the people. You get to know the residents and you become fond of them. Of course you get to know them and then they leave, but that’s always a great thing. Sue: It’s just a personal touch. We get to know everyone and learn their story.

What do you hope for the shelter long term?
Sue: For it to continue to do as well as it is. Joyce: We started volunteering when the shelter was still in a warehouse. To see it grow like this is pretty great.

What’s your biggest takeaway?
Sue: I’d say it’s the satisfaction of a job well done and getting to know everyone here. Joyce: Definitely the satisfaction that I’ve done something to help. Volunteering in the kitchen, you know, we’re only here for a short amount of time, but it’s nice to be able to do a little bit to help.

Carpenter’s relies heavily on the service and generosity of our volunteers and donors. If you’d like to volunteer with the shelter please click here!

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Recently we spoke with Deputy Director Mary-Parker Lamm about her experiences working for Carpenter’s Shelter.

When did you get involved with Carpenter’s Shelter?
What attracted you to the mission? I started working at Carpenter’s in 2007 after I moved to the area and applied for an open position. I was impressed with the comprehensive approach to addressing an individual or family’s reasons for being homeless.

What sets Carpenter’s Shelter apart from other organizations? Carpenter’s has a diverse staff who are supported by a unique community. A community that not only provides their dollars in an amazingly generous fashion but also provide volunteer hours that can’t be compared to other organizations! I believe our volunteer support is second to none!

What are your job responsibilities? As Deputy Director, I am responsible for the overall operation of the programs at Carpenter’s Shelter. This includes: Winter Shelter, David’s Place, HSAC, Education and Employment, Case Management, Community Case Management and HMIS.

How did your background prepare you for this job at the Shelter? My social work education and the diversity of my professional experience has helped me in this job although the best preparation has been working with many different individuals and the amazingly committed staff members that I’m grateful to be able to work with!

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does? Allowing so many men, women and children the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a respectful and supportive environment.

What aspects of your job at Carpenter’s Shelter do you find most rewarding? Sharing in the success of residents and clients and their continuous display of strength and tenacity. It never ceases to amaze me!

Share one of your favorite Carpenter’s Shelter memories? It’s hard to think of just one but I think the night that I heard Jasmine share her experience with Carpenter’s Shelter is certainly one of them and made me proud of what we do. She shared how she, her husband and three daughters walked from the King Street Metro to the shelter after arriving in town. They didn’t know what to expect and she was very afraid of where she was bringing her daughters. She talked about how grateful she was for the love and care that the staff provided to her and her children that first night and throughout their stay. She shared that the staff made such a difficult time for their family bearable and gave them the opportunity for the entire family to start their lives over and be successful now in the community.

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On June 19 the United Way is hosting Do More 24, a 24-hour online fundraising event that encourages everyone to donate to non-profit organizations in the National Capital Area.

Carpenter’s Shelter is proud to be among the many non-profit organizations participating in Do More 24. This is more than a fundraiser; it’s your chance to advocate for the homeless in the Alexandria area.

Carpenter’s has remained dedicated to serving the City of Alexandria, and relies heavily on the donations from members of the community in order to continue to provide vital services to those living at Carpenter’s Shelter.

Help Carpenter’s by donating HERE.

$24 would provide twin size sheets for one of our 80 beds. $48 would provide one of our clients a metro card for a week of job searching. $96 would provide two weeks of after school snacks for the children in the shelter.

Fundraising begins at 12 am on June 19. Be sure to watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds for donation updates.

There are many wonderful non-profits participating in Do More 24, and we appreciate you choosing Carpenter’s Shelter as your charity of choice.

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Please join on us on Saturday, May 16th from 2-4 pm for mocktails and light bites in our courtyard to celebrate the work of selfless individuals such as yourself who have gone above and beyond in their volunteer efforts to make Carpenter’s Shelter more than a roof for the last 26 years!

A small program will be presented and volunteers will have a chance to share any of their positive experiences or stories about volunteering at the shelter.

RSVP here.

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Now that warm weather has finally hit the area, Winter Shelter has closed its doors. Winter Shelter provides a safe refuge from illness, injury and death during inclement weather. This year Winter Shelter serviced 296 total individuals and logged 105 extended hours. Extended hours means Winter Shelter does not close due to severe weather conditions.

With the extensive snow days this season, there was a point when Winter Shelter was open over 100 hours straight. They opened their doors at 1:00 p.m. January 21 and remained open until the morning of January 26. While the polar vortex may have played a role, our volunteers rallied to help us serve our most vulnerable population.

The cold temperatures and harsh winds that come with the winter season cause the unsheltered to seek shelter. For many homeless persons, Winter Shelter is the first step toward getting off the streets. Oftentimes the window for accepting help is briefly open and our staff continues to be diligent when responding to those requesting shelter.

Carpenter’s Shelter would like to thank all the volunteers that helped with Winter Shelter as well as Church of St. Clement and Alfred Street Baptist Church for their partnerships this year.

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Restaurants are the backbone of Carpenter’s Cook-Off. They are what draw everyone together to help Carpenter’s Shelter raise awareness and fight to end homelessness.

We are excited to welcome 27 amazing restaurants to this year’s Cook-Off. Many are returning restaurants but we also have some new restaurants as well. There will be lots of new dishes to try.

The cuisine that will be available for tasting includes Japanese, Indian, American, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Mexican, and Irish. There will also be cupcakes, ice cream, and coffee.

Here are the participating restaurants:
  • a la Lucia
  • Alexandria Cupcake
  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • BRABOBread and Chocolate
  • Cheesetique
  • Del Ray Pizzeria
  • Dishes of India
  • FireFlies
  • Hard Times Café
  • Jackson 20
  • Joe Theismann’s
  • Nando’s Peri-Peri
  • Overwood
  • The Majestic
  • Mischa’s Coffeehouse
  • Murphy’s
  • RedRocks
  • Thirsty Bernie’s
  • Stone’s Cove.
  • The Sushi Bar
  • Sweet Fire Donna’s
  • Taqueria El Poblano
  • Tempo
  • TJ Stone’s
  • Union St. Public House
  • Vaso’s Kitchen

If you have yet to purchase your tickets to this great event, you can still do so by clicking here. Please note that tickets will not be sold at the door. We hope to see everyone on Sunday, April 27!

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Looking for a fun, easy way to support Carpenter’s Shelter? Attend Cook-Off and become part of the bidding war during our Live Auction!

We have collected an amazing assortment of auction items including travel packages, gift certificates, and one-of-a-kind opportunities. Simply get your Cook-Off ticket today and we’ll see you at The Birchmere April 27 for bidding to raise funds for the shelter.
Here are the Live Auction items that will be up for bid:

Raise Your Spirits at Bluemont Vineyards

Enjoy a seated tasting, private tour, select light fare offerings, souvenir glasses and 15% discount for the day for yourself and up to 11 friends at Bluemont Vineyard, located just minutes from Leesbur, VA, featuring great wines and breathtaking views ofd Loudoun Valley. (Approximate Value = $200)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Two box seat tickets to see The Lion King at the Kennedy Center on Thursday, July 10, 2014, access the the Russian Lounge with two complimentary cocktails plus a certificate for a one-night stay in a deluxe room at the Hotel Palomar DC on July 10. Tickets donated by the Kennedy Center. Hotel stay donated by Kimpton Hotels. (Approximate Value = $550)

Instant Party
catered BBQ party for 25 people including slow smoked pork ribs, pulled chicken, pork BBQ sliders, creamy coleslaw, redskin potato salad, baked beans, and cornbread prepared by King Street Blues. Winner picks up catered items at the Old Town location. Donated by King Street Blues. (Approximate Value = $250)

Southwest to Austin
A $500 gift card on Southwest Airlines (daily non-stops from DCA to Austin) with no expiration or blackout dates plus a two-night stay at the Aloft Austin located at The Domain Shopping District, two gift cards for a 3 hour zipline tour at Lake Travis (30 miles from Austin) and a $30 gift card to Kona Grill which is also located at The Domain (hotel and gift card expire March 1, 2015). Hotel, airfare and restaurant gift card donated by Tim O’Hara. Zipline tour donated by Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. (Approximate Vale = $1050)

Race Over to Dover
Package for four people includes race day grandstand access, fully catered private Mobil 1 Trackside Hospitality Chalet, pre-race pit tours (limited access and availability), driver appearance, Mobil 1 Show Car Appearance, Mobil 1 Branded Track Pack during the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 28, 2014. (Approximate Value = $2100)

South of the Border Paradise

A three-night stay at the beautiful beachfront Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos all-inclusive resort located near the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico overlooking the Sea of Cortes, plus two airline tickets on US Airways. (Approximate Value = $1400)

Rock the Red
Cheer the Capitals onto VICTORY! You and one guest will enjoy the game from the center ice at one Washington Capitals game for a mutually agreed upon date during the 2014/2015 season. For the ultimate fan, show your Capital’s pride by wearing an authentic Capitals jersey signed by the full 2014 team. Tickets donated by Hessel Aluise & Neun. (Approximate Value= $620)

Havana Nights Dinner Party
An authentic Cuban dinner for 10 at the winning bidder’s home including appetizers, dinner, dessert and cocktails prepared by Executive Director Lissette Bishins and served by Carpenter’s Shelter staff. (Approximate Value = $500)

Cocktails, Anyone?
Join Todd Thrasher, Sommelier and Mix Master of Restaurant Eve and PX, for one hour of private cocktail instruction and sampling for 8 people at Cathal Armstong’s newest restaurant Society Fair, located in Old Town. Learn the secrets of what makes his cocktails 4 stars! (Approximate Value = $500)

A Special Chesapeake Charter
Enjoy an outing for 6 on a 1951 classic wood power boat, the LeeStar, with Carpenter’s Shelter Board members Lee Fifer and Jim Coakley. The boat will depart from Deale, MD and dock for a long lunch at America’s oldest Inn, The Robert Morris Inn where Chef Proprietor and British Master Chef, Mark Salter, brings a modern British approach, combined with classical sensibilities, to the Inn’s restaurant, Salter’s Tavern and Tap Room. Valid through 2014 and date must be mutually agreed upon. Donated by Lee Fifer and Jim Coakley. (Approximate Value = $400)

Catch a Home Run in Philly
Two tickets to the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies game on Saturay, July 12 (tickets are Row 1 in left field); package includes a one-night stay with breakfast at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, certificate for two Philly Cheesesteaks from Pat’s King of Steaks, $50 Starr Restaurants gift card (includes over 20 of the most popular restaurants in Philly), plus a VIP Pass for two, which allows you to visit most Philly attractions for free. Tickets donated by Bill Kelly. Hotel stay donated by the Sheraton Hotel. Gift card and VIP Pass donated by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. Cheesesteak certificate donated by Pat’s King of Steaks. (Approximate Value = $400)

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Looking for a hands-on internship that will further your skills and give you real-world experience? Carpenter’s Shelter offers three intern positions that assist our Development Department, they are Communications and Design Intern, Special Events Intern, and Development Intern.
The Communications and Design Intern and the Development Intern positions are offered year-round while the Special Events Intern position is only offered during the spring and fall semesters.
Internships last 14 weeks and require a commitment to work a minimum of twenty hours weekly (days and hours are flexible). The next internship session will begin June 2, 2014 and end September 5, 2014. Internships carry a stipend of $150 per week. All serious applicants may send a cover letter and resume to Courtney Bishop.
To read a full description of these internship opportunities, visit this page.

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Carpenter’s Cook-Off is the shelter’s largest fundraising event of the year. For the past 12 years Carpenter’s has brought together over 25 of the area’s best local restaurants for a day of tastings, friendly competition and community building– all in support of the fight against homelessness in Northern Virginia.

Leading up to Cook-Off, we will hold an online auction which you can register for here. The online auction will open today at 10 p.m. and will run for 2 weeks until Friday, April 25 at 10 p.m.
Here is a sampling of some Online Auction items:
  • Coffee with Congressman Moran
  • 4 tickets to Madame Tussauds’ wax museum
  • A getaway to Annapolis, Maryland
  • 8 dance classes at Gottaswing
  • A consultation and treatment at Radiance Medspa
  • Gift certificate to The Hamilton restaurant
  • Signed Alex Ovechkin hockey stick
All proceeds from the online auction bids will go towards Carpenter’s Shelter’s, helping to fund our programs and continue serving our clients. Online auction purchases are tax deductible.
Happy bidding!

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Foodies from all-around know and love Ben and Jerry’s annual Free Cone Day. This year, Free Cone Day is April 8 and Carpenter’s Shelter will be scooping ice cream for donations at two Ben and Jerry’s locations.

Ben and Jerry’s Old Town
103 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Ben and Jerry’s National Harbor
138 National Plaza
Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Please join us from noon to 8 p.m. for a sweet treat and help us raise funds for the shelter’s programs. While the ice cream will be free, all donations will directly benefit Carpenter’s operations.

If you’re unfamiliar with Free Cone Day it’s just what it sounds like. Ben and Jerry’s will dish out free scoops of ice cream to commemorate the company’s anniversary. (You can also get your scoop in a cup.)

Staff members from Carpenter’s will be joined by volunteer groups from Deloitte and PEEPS & Company to scoop ice cream. Long time friends of Carpenter’s, Don Beyer, John Chapman, Kerry Donley, Dana Lawhorne, John Porter and David Speck will also make appearances at the community event.

We hope to see you and your friends and family there!

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