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    Posted June 13, 2013

AEA Dignity Drive


Emily Townley delivering some of the collected items to Jason Miller of Shower Ministry at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

The Actors' Equity members of the Greater Washington, D.C./Baltimore/Northern Virginia region came together again and showed their enormous generosity of spirit by successfully completing their second successful "Dignity Drive"! Members made a huge difference to the lives of those in need in the region by donating new and packaged underwear items for men, women and children to area homeless shelters.

A total of about 900 individual items were collected this year, totaling approximately $2500 in retail value, and then donated to three local organizations: the Shower Ministry, the DC Coalition for the Homeless and the N Street Village for Women.

The Drive was spearheaded by the Greater Washington, D.C./Baltimore Liaison Committee with special effort made by Committee Members Barbara Callander, Liaison Chair Laura , Liaison Committee Vice-Chair and National AEA Councilor Jess Speaker, Chair Emeritus Bill Largess, R. Scott Williams, Che Wernsman and Secretary Emily Townley.

The idea for the original Drive was born when a member of the Committee, calling around to local shelters in an effort to bring AEA members together for a charity event, was told repeatedly that the items most needed and least frequently donated to the homeless were underwear and diapers. Soon many area theatres were on board as part of the effort and agreed to "host" donation drop boxes for members to contribute to. Theatres and organizations hosting boxes for this most recent Drive include The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, The Olney Theatre Center, The Shakespeare Theatre, the National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and Center Stage, Baltimore.

Jason Miller, who runs the Shower Ministry in downtown D.C. at the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, which offers showers, toiletries and breakfast to homeless men and women in the region, summed it up in a letter of thanks to our members, writing "Your donated items are crucial to the services we provide...The donations made by [the Actors' Equity Members of the area] will save us a significant amount of money..and your kindness will make a difference in the lives of our guests."

If you would like to make a donation to any of these Washington, DC, area organizations, N Street Village for Women can be reached through www.nstreetvillage.org, the DC Coalition for the Homeless at www.dccfh.org and Shower Ministries by contacting Jason Miller at jwmnc@me.com .

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