Mercades Ellington (24 years old) is a dedicated mother of two who was in need of a helping hand. In April 2023, she and her partner Toni Diaz were referred to our Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP) program based in the Cape Fear region of North Carolina. Together, they have been raising Mercades’ two children. But taking care of a family can be a huge challenge without a place to call home. 


Mercades and Toni both live on limited incomes and have had many housing applications rejected in the past due to their poor credit scores. Maintaining stable employment that offers Mercades the flexibility needed to be home with her young son has also been a challenge. 


Thanks to supporters of our HOP program like you, Mercades was connected with one of our case managers to get her and her family approved for housing assistance. By July, our dedicated staff were able to help Mercades identify and get approved for a comfortable three-bedroom trailer home in Elizabethtown, NC. The HOP program also provided Mercades financial assistance to set her and her family up for success in their new home. 


“The Healthy Opportunities Program has been a blessing. It paid for our first month’s rent, security deposit, and utilities. We also got $1,150 to help buy new furniture. We were very pleased with how quickly our case manager worked to get us situated. Thank you, Volunteers of America, for making it easy to move forward.” – Mercades 


Established by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HOP is the nation's first comprehensive program to help vulnerable Medicaid enrollees in North Carolina have better health outcomes by addressing needs related to housing, food, transportation, domestic violence and toxic stress. As a HOP partner, annually we provide housing services to 250 families like Mercades’ who are at risk of homelessness in Pender, Columbus, and Bladen counties. 

Visit or click the button below to learn more about the HOP program.

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We hosted the 3rd Annual G.O.A.T. Youth

Mental Health Expo!

On Saturday, May 18th, our 3rd Annual Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) Youth Mental Health Expo was nothing short of AMAZING! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, our goal was to bring the community together to provide greater access to care, resources, and support our youth need to overcome mental health and substance use challenges – and we did just that! We welcomed over 300 guests, including 50 exhibitors, and 20 speakers and performers. 

We can’t thank the community enough for showing up, connecting with our exhibitors, learning new coping and intervention strategies, and helping to break the stigma around mental health by participating in our interactive sessions. We want to especially thank our expo co-hosts, the Prince George's County Health Department, the Health Department's STEP Forward Program and the Bowie State University Graduate Student Association, for partnering with us again this year. We also have to give a huge shout-out to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, performers, and volunteers. Without you, none of this would have been possible.

To view the full photo gallery and download images, click the button below.

Photo Gallery

To learn more about the expo, visit or click the button below.

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Our annual Operation Backpack® back-to-school campaign kicks off in July! But giving starts now! By giving today, you can ensure that underprivileged youth across Maryland, Virginia, DC and the Carolinas have the brand-new backpacks and school supplies they need to succeed.

Thanks to amazing supporters like YOU, Operation Backpack® made a huge impact last year, raising $38,600 in monetary donations and gathered $61,000 in supply donations to support 3,000 students!

Looking ahead to Operation Backpack® 2024, we need your help once more if we are to meet the needs of our regions' most vulnerable students. 

From now until the end of September 7th, our goal is to raise $50,000 in monetary donations and collect $70,000 in supply donations to support 3,000 students.

Operation Backpack® is only made possible by giving hearts like yours. Can we count on you for support?


provides a new backpack filled with supplies for a child


ensures a child has fresh 

school uniforms


provides a meal for a child


provides groceries for a family

with children

To make a gift and change and child's life for the better, click the button below!

Here's My Gift!

To learn more about Operation Backpack®, supply drive partnerships, sponsorship opportunities and more, click the button below or visit

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Make a difference, donate your vehicle!
Your old vehicle may not mean very much to you anymore, but to us it's a goldmine! It means we can continue to serve more than 10,600 individuals and families every year, ensuring they live in safety with social/emotional wellbeing, spiritual fulfillment, justice and hope.

Don't your vehicle donate by visiting or clicking the button below.
Learn More!
Volunteers of America Chesapeake
& Carolinas

General inquiries:

Maryland, DC & Virginia
4601 Presidents Drive, Suite 300
Lanham, MD 20706
(301) 459-2020
North & South Carolina
207 Commons Blvd
Durham, NC 27704
(800) 646-2828

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©2023 Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas- All Rights Reserved. We are designated tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law

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