Congregations Aim to Help Elderly at 10th Annual IMPACT Gathering

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IMPACT's 10th annual meeting IMPACT's 10th annual meeting
Imam Tyler Roach, IMPACT co-president Imam Tyler Roach, IMPACT co-president
Tom Craig, IMPACT treasurer Tom Craig, IMPACT treasurer

For the 10th year in a row, people from 27 different congregations put aside their differences in hopes of making an impact in central Virginia Monday night.

Hundreds of people crowded Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlottesville for IMPACT's 10th annual assembly. IMPACT stands for the Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together and each year they advocate for a different cause. 

“We listen to what our neighbors and our congregants are struggling with and we cooperate with each other, put aside our differences, and work towards coming together as a community,” said Imam Tyler Roach, IMPACT co-president.

This year, the group heard from speakers about issues with housing, elder care, and education. Then, they voted to focus on making sure the elderly are taken care of.

“There will be a whole time period where a research committee goes out and finds out what is the best approach to deal with this in a significant way,” said  Tom Craig, IMPACT treasurer.

In past years, IMPACT has worked to improve bus options for employees who couldn't get to work on Sundays when Charlottesville area transit didn't run.     
“Here were people who are hardworking contributors to society and they had no means of getting out to their place of employment,” Craig said. 

For many people, the group is about more than societal issues.

“It's very impressive to me that we have traditionally white churches, traditionally black churches, we have Hispanic churches, we have synagogues, we have the Muslim society,” said Beverly Seng of Sojourners United Church of Christ.

In the coming months, IMPACT's leaders will do research interviews to better understand the issue and come up with a solution. Then next May, they'll ask elected officials to consider moving forward with their plan of action.

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