Rapp Benevolent Fund: Neighbors helping neighbors

Annual Benevolent dinner is Saturday

Founded in December 2008, the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund (RBF) will celebrate ten years of service this year. As the work of this vital local outreach ministry continues to expand, two new initiatives are especially noteworthy.

Kees Dutilh (left) and Montse Vittotow are heading up vital initiatives for the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund. By John McCaslin

The Rev. Tuck Grinnell, Pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church and chair of the RBF, is pleased to announce that Montse Vittitow has been appointed as the first RBF Community Coordinator. Montse began her work with the Benevolent Fund on October 1, but is not new to the Rappahannock community. A resident of Chester Gap for twenty years, Montse is the mother of ten, wife of Jim Vittitow, and long time volunteer at the Food Pantry.

In making this announcement, Fr. Tuck emphasized: “Montse has a deep love for Rappahannock County and a heart to help those in need.”

Trinity House, the office of Trinity Church on Gay Street in Little Washington, has graciously lent space for Montse’s office. She can be reached there Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., unless she is out making house calls.

“Montse is already making a huge difference in our county,” said Miller Hunter, Rector of Trinity. “I am privileged to see her at work on a daily basis, and I am impressed with her care, concern and her professional approach as she attends to those who are experiencing need in our community.”

Montse’s work is a continuation of the RBF’s enduring commitment to be an organization of neighbors helping neighbors. Vital to the work of the RBF is the understanding that we are all dependent on each other and that, sooner or later, every single one of us will need the support of the wider community. Some will need emotional and spiritual support; others will need financial support. But as a community, we are best when the commitment to support each other is a high priority.

In its ten years of service, the RBF has consistently assisted members of our community who have needed help with utility bills, rent payments, medical expenses, etc. Over the past five years, 492 grants totaling $178,821 have been distributed.

Serving over 90 families in 2017, the RBF had its start as a response to the widespread suffering that emerged during the recession of 2007 through 2009. Local resident John Kiser was moved to respond, and he generously provided the initial grant to start the fund. John’s ongoing support, vision, and generosity have been unfailing over the years. In addition, there is an ongoing increase in the number of local contributors generously bolstering the vital work being done. The annual dinner to support the RBF has become a regular fixture on the community calendar and provides needed support for the work of the RBF. This year’s dinner will be this Saturday, Jan. 27.

As the RBF enters a new decade of service, the organization finds itself in a strong position to continue to expand its mission. The second new initiative, Safe and Healthy Homes, is being launched in response to the critical needs for crucial home repairs and maintenance.

Kees Dutilh heads up this initiative, bringing to the table much experience from his work with Rebuilding Together, a national organization that has similar goals and objectives as Safe and Healthy Homes.

With two projects already underway, this new venture promises to continue and confirm the initial vision of RBF to respond to the very real needs of Rappahannock residents. The Rappahannock community is invited to join Safe and Healthy Homes by becoming a part of the corps of volunteers . . . neighbors helping neighbors.

RBF Contact Information: Office at 370 Gay St. Washington, VA 22747. Montse Vittitow: 540-671-0421 or montsevittitow@gmail.com.

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