- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 22, 2005

Naco Frazier has been coming to the Central Union Mission in Northwest every other Thursday and almost religiously for the past 10 years, easing her spiritual and financial burdens.

“I started coming to the shelter when my son was about 5 years old, [to get] food, clothes,” said Miss Frazier, 44, who lives on R Street, a few blocks from the mission. “And for prayer … it cleanses my mind. It’s very important to me, because my mother is a pastor.”

Miss Frazier was among about 70 mission clients who received some extra help yesterday from the 121-year-old organization and the Oklahoma-based Feed the Children, which delivered a tractor-trailer of food for seniors, low-income families and others who receive services from the mission on a regular basis.

The food was donated by a Houston ministry in return for the mission’s help with a food drive in the District about a month ago, said David O. Treadwell, the executive director.

The nonprofit mission, on R and 13th streets in Northwest, feeds about 500 people. Its annual budget of roughly $4 million is funded largely by individual donations, Mr. Treadwell said.

Many of those seeking assistance at the mission have jobs, including many working mothers who are trying to raise three children on little more than $7 or $8 an hour, Mr. Treadwell said.

“She’s trying, but she’s just not going to make enough to make ends meet,” he said. “By giving her food, we’re able to stretch her income, and that’s one of our major contributions.”

Mr. Treadwell said roughly $40,000 worth of food was distributed yesterday.

“The program is a big help in making ends meet,” said Miss Frazier, who is on disability. “I’m a single mother raising two children — a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old — so it’s great for me.”

Volunteers Edith Maddox, 76, of Rochelle, Va., and her friend, Josephine Ford, 76, of Alexandria, helped soothe the mission clients yesterday when they began to worry because the tractor-trailer was running behind schedule and had yet to arrive.

“It was nice, wonderful, the people have just been lovely,” said Miss Maddox, whose granddaughter, Barfonce Baldwin, is the mission’s communications director. “I’m glad that I could help.”

Miss Maddox said she also helped with a previous dinner held by the mission.

The volunteers unloaded care boxes filled with toiletries, food and powdered white and chocolate milk, then distributed the goods on the sidewalk outside the building.

Some recipients chose to open the boxes on the spot and package the contents in more manageable bags. Others kept the boxes intact, either hauling them home on handcarts or arranging for vehicles to give them a lift.

The remaining food will be distributed to the regular mission clients who didn’t make it to the shelter yesterday, said Kelli Davis, a mission spokeswoman.



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