Mohd Bazzari, owner of Anytime Fitness at 10350 Bristow Center Drive in Bristow, wanted his business to do something to help those in the community less fortunate over the holiday season.
He contacted Kellie Ross, director of operations at The Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Manassas, to see what people needed.
“I called her because every year around this time we do something like this. We were thinking of doing toys, and she said, ‘No, what we need is food,’” said Bazzari.
Anytime Fitness in Bristow has 1200 members, so Bazzari knew his business could make a difference. He has worked with other charitable nonprofits in the past, included St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Now Bazzari is trying to include the entire community. When anyone donates nonperishable food items at his Anytime Fitness location they will receive 12 days of free membership as part of their 12 Days of Fitness promotion. They will also be entered into a drawing for one-month free membership.
Ross stopped by Anytime Fitness on Monday, Nov. 28 to set up her House of Mercy food drive posters, provide more information on the cause and share the inspiring story of her organization.
Ross founded the House of Divine Mercy out of her basement in 2005, and after being established in Nokesville for several years, moved to a larger location on 8170 Flannery Court in Manassas in November of 2010. With a larger location came more demand. The House of Divine Mercy now helps 500 local families, but there is always a need for more food, clothing and donation money.
“Financially things are very tough for the House of Mercy. It has been a huge struggle financially,” said Ross, who realizes that the difficult economy is putting an excessive strain on families.
Yet, Ross said she owes her ministry to the kindness of individuals who have selflessly donated their time or money to the cause. She calls them, “ordinary extraordinary people.”
“You are one of those people,” she tells Bizzari, “You have given since the moment I met you.”
The Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy is a Catholic nonprofit organization, but Ross said they help anyone based upon need, regardless of religious affiliation.
Beyond providing food, Mercy House also offers free educational programs to get people back on their feet, and move them towards self-sufficiency. Mercy also provide clothing and toys for children.
To help the Divine House of Mercy, you can contact 703-659-1636 or visit their website.
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