St. Martin de Porres Senior Center wasn’t quite open officially for regular activities, but it didn’t stop the regulars from showing up for the ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent renovation on May 25. Senior citizens pushing walkers and chatting with friends returned to the Center to celebrate the renovation after more than a year of closure due to the pandemic, to catch up with each other and to share lunch. According to Alexandria Gazette Packet, "Gloria Velasco, an 84-year-old regular at the Center, says she had been so lonely at home during COVID. She had been coming to St. Martin’s for 20 years and has been showing up there every Friday to pray the rosary even though it hasn’t officially opened. “Life is very uncertain now,” Velasco said. “You need to see people.” The Center received a major upgrade during closure from a $44,000 grant provided by HomeAid Northern Virginia. HomeAid is a nonprofit that partners with local social service organizations (in this case Catholic Charities of the diocese of Arlington) to build and renovate facilities by utilizing the expertise, labor and resources of local homebuilders. This renovation grant allowed Catholic Charities to spend their funds on services for those at the Center." As per Alexandria Gazette Paket, "If there is a gap, fundraising covers the extra. “We have four major fundraising events a year with very generous donors and great Board Members who sponsor their own events. “We couldn’t exist without people. HANV is people based.” She explains non-profits don’t have a lot of choice of where they are located in facilities, and construction is really expensive. So if HomeAid can help improve their building, they have more to spend on services for people who are often living in poverty."