Teens Opposing Poverty, Inc. (TOP) was founded in September 1987 at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church in Chantilly, Virginia as a result of the church’s participation in the Society of St. Andrew’s Potato Project and the involvement of one our graduating youth in a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission trip to Costa Rica. We made our first trip to Washington, D.C. to take clothing to homeless people in November 1987. Other youth groups began joining in this work in 1988. TOP teens have ministered to over 9,000 homeless and other poor people and have given out tons of food and clothing and thousands of pairs of underwear and socks.
TOP operated as an informal network of youth groups until 2002 when it incorporated. It has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization since 2003.
In 2005, TOP became the coordinating organization for Impact the Valley, a week-long home repair summer mission serving low income families in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Starting in 2006 TOP expanded its homeless outreach to Winchester, Fredericksburg and Richmond, VA. In 2008, TOP teens began work in Lynchburg and Newport News, VA and in 2009 started a homeless ministry in Charlottesville, VA.
The year of 2008 also marked the first time that over 1,000 teens and young adults participated in TOP’s ministries in one year. In 2009, over 1,100 volunteers from 61 youth groups served over 3,000 homeless and poor people in 8 towns and cities.