Last year’s Spring2ACTion was an event like none of the other’s I had participated in before. Due to COVID, all our usual events had to be canceled- no party with our students and families, no prayer room at the community center, no staying up until 1am with the team to celebrate the generosity of our friends and supporters. Spring2ACTion in 2020 was all of us at home on our computers, zooming with students and running Facebook lives to connect with our wider community and share our story. Despite that distance, 2020’s Spring2ACTion broke records and we saw the highest number of donors and dollars that we have ever had before. Little did we know it would mark the beginning of a season of immense generosity and unprecedented support for the Chirilagua community.
Throughout 2020 we had the honor of receiving and distributing thousands of pounds of food and thousands of dollars to families in need. We had the opportunity to not only walk with Chirilagua families as they struggled with job loss, illness, and uncertainty about the future but were also able to walk with other Alexandria neighbors as they sought to be loving and caring neighbors to those in Chirilagua. In a neighborhood that has often felt unseen and hidden in the city, our Chirilagua neighbors began to feel seen, heard, and valued as residents of Alexandria because of the incredible COVID response.
All that has happened last year has reminded me of one of our core values at Casa: to be reconciliatory in all that we do. At Casa, we choose to believe that there is enough in the world for all people to flourish. We believe in a God that sees the brokenness and injustice of this world and has invited us to be a part of bringing about the healing, restoration, and reconciliation that is so needed in our community and our world. COVID has highlighted the inequities that exists in our community and has highlighted how many families do not have access to what they need to flourish. Instead of choosing into a scarcity mindset this last year, I have seen the city of Alexandria come together and work towards our community’s peace and well-being. In doing this, we have chosen to live into God’s reconciliatory purpose for creation- choosing to believe that all that is wrong will be made right and claiming our purpose as people who are supposed to be part of bringing about that reconciliation.
My hopes for Spring2ACTion this year are that we continue in our commitment to the reconciling of our neighborhood and our city. I hope that we continue to choose to believe that there is enough in our city for all families to flourish and that we would commit to always making that a reality. I hope that the resiliency of our Chirilagua neighbors will continue to shine and that there would be more opportunities for cross cultural relationship building. Spring2ACTion is a time for us to come together and invest in our neighbors and I am thankful for all that God has and will do through this day.
– Marissa Salgado, Programs Director