As a teenager, Jennifer Dorn, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Realty, remembers watching infomercials that piqued her interest in real estate.
“Who does that?” she laughs. “At 16 years old? Back then, most of the teenagers I knew at my age were thinking about becoming doctors, actors, singers, lawyers, etc. However, I wanted to pursue real estate.”
Jennifer loved the idea of investing in real estate. It was a natural segue into her desire to help others in her community.
“One of my desires was, and still is, to purchase a multi-unit property to house less fortunate families,” Jennifer explains. “I would partner with organizations to help educate and provide vocational training to these families so they can transition to being self-sufficient.”
While Jennifer’s dream of buying that multi-unit property has yet to come to fruition, it hasn’t slowed her desire and willingness to give back to the people of the community that she calls home.
Finding an Avenue to Give Back: Action in Community Through Service of Prince William (ACTS)
Jennifer knows and has worked with many families who look to ACTS for assistance. It troubles her to see so many families in need of food and support. So she decided to put her thoughts into action by volunteering at the ACTS food pantry. She relishes the opportunity to greet the community during face-to-face encounters, where she can offer her time to help those in need.
ACTS’s mission is “to foster hope, provide relief, and promote self-sufficiency for their Prince William County area neighbors in crises.”
Some think ACTS is a thrift store, others a food pantry, still others a hotline. They do all those things and so much more for the local community.
According to their website, ACTS was formed when 13 churches came together in 1969 to alleviate suffering and hunger in our area. They embrace a client-centered approach to helping our neighbors in the greater Prince William County area deal with crisis, recover from trauma, and have their most basic human needs of food and shelter met with compassion.
“ACTS not only provides food assistance, but emergency assistance with utility bills and other basic needs (financial assistance), housing, victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and suicide-related support,” their website states. “We believe that to change lives and create a safe and welcoming community, we must together face the issues of hunger, homelessness, and interpersonal violence that prevent people from reaching their potential.”
Jennifer is no longer volunteering to pack and hand out food. However, she holds fundraisers for canned and non-perishable food in her community to donate to the pantry several times each year.
“Additionally, I found that during the summer months, there is an even greater need for food donations. A lot of kids depend on breakfast and lunch from the schools. But when school is out for the summer, some kids don’t have the luxury of breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. Therefore, families turn to the food pantry for these essentials.”
As a result, the food pantry often needs more help during the summer months. Jennifer does her best to raise awareness of this shortage, rousing efforts within the community to support the food pantry during these lean months.
“Let’s face it, with the growing homeless population there will always be a need for food,” Jennifer explains.
Whether working in real estate, at home with family or supporting ACTS, one thing remains steady for Jennifer Dorn: her commitment to being there for others in a time of need.
“The most fulfilling part of working with ACTS is serving others less fortunate or those in need. Giving back to reduce hunger. No one should go without food,” Jennifer says. “I know that I cannot save or change everyone that has a need, but I can at least do my part. This charity does so much for the community.”
Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc. (ACTS) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving the residents of the greater Prince William County area, which includes the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Get involved through volunteering or financial contributions. For more information, please visit www.actspwc.org.