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Helping Hands: STATDC

In a small corner of Prince William County, a resilient family faced a life-altering moment earlier this year when a gas explosion engulfed their home, leaving one member severely burned. Dominic Walker, a burn victim, vividly recalls the harrowing incident that nearly claimed the lives of his family, including his 5-year-old daughter.

As Walker undergoes the arduous process of recovery, a local organization named STATDC has emerged as a beacon of support, working tirelessly to provide him with essential assistance during this challenging time.

Walker reflects on the traumatic event, stating, “He lit a candle and the whole house went up in flames. In that moment, I thought my daughter was outside with her mother, but she wasn’t, so I had to smash the window to get out and then go back inside to get my daughter.” His recounting of the incident is a testament to the strength and determination that has characterized his journey towards healing.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Walker spent three weeks in a coma, battling severe burns and uncertainty about his ability to walk and talk again. “I have pain in my hands, so every day it’s like, ‘When is this going to be over?'” he shares, shedding light on the physical and emotional toll of his recovery. Relearning basic tasks, such as showering, holding utensils, and eating, has become a daily struggle for him.

Recognizing the pressing need within the community, Tanya Whitaker, founder of STATDC, a local nonprofit focused on eradicating food insecurity and promoting labor-market fairness, stepped in to provide assistance. Whitaker, driven by a personal understanding of the struggles that accompany hardship, emphasizes, “There is a real need in the community.”

When asked to assist Walker during his time of need, Whitaker didn’t hesitate. “All I did was get a phone call and said, ‘Can you give someone food?’ I didn’t need to know the back story, nothing,” she explained. For Whitaker, the work of nonprofits like STATDC is deeply rooted in personal experiences. “If people were honest, most nonprofits are birthed out of pain. I have been hungry before, and no one should have to feel like that.”

In a heartwarming turn of events, 7News and Joel Bassam from Easterns Automotive Group surprised STATDC with a generous Helping Hand donation of $2,200. The unexpected contribution will significantly impact the organization’s ability to provide food to those in need.

“That means more people can eat. This is amazing, and this is an answer. I was just coming to give food,” expressed Whitaker in complete surprise and gratitude.

By extending a Helping Hand, they have not only contributed to feeding those in need but have also become a symbol of hope and solidarity during challenging times. Together, they exemplify the power of compassion and community support in fostering recovery and resilience.