Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless: An Interview with AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps

“You and I might not think about it, but what if you suddenly had a kitchen but no pots, pans, or dishes? Or towels for your bath? Condiments in the fridge? These things add up quickly and are a burden to procure for someone who might have to depend on public transport to get from store to home.”

-AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps
AnnaMaria with her son, Jacob, baking bread for MCCH.

I had the pleasure to speak with AnnaMaria on October 16th, 2019 to talk about MCCH and how it is helping the community of the DC area.

TheCharityBoardGamer: AnnaMaria, thank you for talking with me today. Could you please tell us a little about yourself and what got you into the board game hobby?

AnnaMaria: Hi Chris! I’ve been gaming for years! Board gaming has always been part of my life since I was small (I have some fantastic early memories of sitting in my grandparents’ laps *helping* them play pinochle and spades. I continued to play strategy games through college, then jumped into video games for a while. I returned to board games and started playing TTRPGs about a decade ago. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: What has been one of your favorite games?

Rachel and Jacob preparing breakfast for MCCH.

AnnaMaria: 7 Wonders has been top of the list for a while now. I LOVE point salad-y type games in which you can switch strategies every playthrough. I even have an order for the expansions – Leaders > Armada > Cities > Leave Babel in the box.

TheCharityBoardGamer: I have not played the expansions. I will have to in that order in the future.

AnnaMaria: Highly recommended. 🙂 

AnnaMaria’s Daughter, Rachael collecting for the Inside Out Program.

TheCharityBoardGamer: So tell us about the charity that you support.

AnnaMaria: We’re avid supporters of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. They offer emergency housing and permanent supportive housing as well as supporting transitioning from homelessness to home ownership to our local community. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: How does the Coalition help the homeless with the transition? 

AnnaMaria: For starters, they help secure affordable housing. DC is a really expensive place to live, and having economical rent makes a huge difference for many people. They also provide a number of things to help set up a household. You and I might not think about it, but what if you suddenly had a kitchen but no pots, pans, or dishes? Or towels for your bath? Condiments in the fridge? These things add up quickly and are a burden to procure for someone who might have to depend on public transport to get from store to home. 

Jacob preparing a large breakfast for MCCH.

AnnaMaria: Additionally, their clients receive support from dedicated services to address issues that led to their homelessness and connect them to resources that will help them remain secure. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: That is amazing. What made you decide to become a supporter? Was there an event or fund-drive that sparked your support and involvement?

AnnaMaria: Community service was another thing I learned from a young age. Both sets of my grandparents were immigrants. They knew hardship, and their number one principle was that you share with others. Always. Its been something I’ve tried to pass on to my kids as well. We moved to this area a few years ago, just as Jacob (my middle son and Game Bites co-author) was really getting into cooking in a big way. He contacted MCCH to see if he could deliver breakfast and that kicked off our relationship with them. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: So, something that I have heard is that identification can be an issue for the homeless. What does the coalition do to help them get back into the jobforce?

AnnaMaria: The aid they receive through the housing program helps, but I think a lot of folks would be surprised to hear how many people experiencing homeless actually have jobs. Our economy and the housing boom displaces a lot of people that are stretched thin trying to make ends meet. 

Jacob’s Eagle Project collecting for Inside Out.

TheCharityBoardGamer: That is a shame that it does that to people. I am glad there is an organization that helps them with housing and necessities. 

AnnaMaria: They’re doing amazing work, we’re so lucky to get to help out. 

TheCharityBoardGamer: AnnaMaria, what are ways that people can support them and find more information about the coalition?

AnnaMaria: There are many ways to support MCCH – buying from their amazon wishlist, providing meals, volunteering time, collecting move in items – you can find out more (and more about their amazing programs) through their website  https://mcch.net/.

TheCharityBoardGamer: AnnaMaria, I have enjoyed this conversation and thank you so much for sharing about MCCH!

AnnaMaria: Thank you for giving me a chance to share!

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