Winter in D.C. can be cold, and we’ll be having hypothermia alert nights! Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) is a group of volunteers who go out on cold nights to check on our unsheltered neighbors.

HART volunteers also go out during late spring, summer, and early fall to take supplies to our homeless neighbors and build relationships. HART members let our unsheltered neighbors know what services are available to them, including the meal program at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church. We also let them know about Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s daytime hospitality center, Shirley’s Place.

Volunteers with Capitol Hill Group Ministry walk up and down Pennsylvania Avenue SE several evenings a week during the summer and Monday through Friday during the winter; these are called HART walks.

Interested in getting involved or want more details? Contact Abby Sypek, Community Engagement Manager at Capitol Hill Group Ministry, by email or phone: 202-544-0631 x200.

Ever notice the baskets under the altar? Share from your abundance by bringing food, toiletries, or other personal hygiene items to place in these baskets during the offertory segment of the Sunday services. (Please bring food that has not “expired.”)

Questions? Ask Gretchen and David Willson, who collect the food to deliver to Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, located at 1516 Hamilton Street NW.

Sunday Suppers is a local, nonprofit group that serves meals to the homeless and other needy people every Sunday evening. The group meets at 6 pm at Franklin Square (at 14th and K Streets NW) in downtown Washington, D.C. Volunteers serve a meal and join in conversation and fellowship at sit-down tables. There are no-prerequisites to volunteer. Just show up, and stay as long as you like.

You can also e-mail Lisa Ramish to learn more.

Sunday Suppers Support Team

Join the Support Team in making sandwiches for delivery to the Sunday Suppers group. The team meets in Baxter Hall at 4 pm on the third Sunday of the month—St Mark’s day for providing the meal. No prerequisites to volunteer for sandwich-making. Just show up to have some sandwich assembly line fun!

Points of contact:  Jack Richards  or Alix Pereira, co-managers

St. Mark’s youth and others make 200 bagged dinners once a month for distribution to people living on the street through the Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol Program. St. Mark’s members meet on the fourth Sunday of the month to make sandwiches. Check the church calendar or bulletin for details.

Point of contact:  Erika Lehman

St. Mark’s is one of eight Capitol Hill congregations (Good Neighbors Capitol Hill) providing Afghan refugee resettlement in Prince George’s County. The team has furnished 45 apartments with donations from our neighbors and friends. Through our tutoring and employment volunteers, we are connected to 25 Afghan families and 75 children (with more families waiting for a mentor/friend). The energy and enthusiasm of the Capitol Hill community about this project has been impressive. In fact, the D.C. City Council issued a proclamation in March 2018 recognizing this incredible effort. Learn more about the Good Neighbor Program here or contact our congregational representative, Karen Getman.

Needs during the coronavirus pandemic: Most of the 40 refugee families Good Neighbors Capitol Hill (GNCH) has connected with as tutors and employment mentors have been underemployed, but during the pandemic 89% are unemployed and joining the millions seeking government benefits. GNCH has purchased $4,000 worth of gift cards for the families’ needs. You can help increase our ongoing “relief fund” by sending a check to Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20003, with GNCH refugees on the notation line (Reformation manages our designated giving account). You can also visit the online donation portal at www.reformationdc.org and designate gifts for “Refugee resettlement.” All funds so designated go directly to support for refugees Please indicate you are a St. Mark’s parishioner as we want to thank you personally. Questions can be directed to Karen Getman.

How to participate: Mentoring relationships are essential to the assimilation of refugees, who have left behind extended family support systems, jobs, and cultural lifestyle. There are several ways you can volunteer with the Refugee Resettlement Program.

The basic requirement for volunteering for the Employment and Tutoring teams is a commitment to friendship and a regular meeting with an individual or family. These families blossom with our friendship and gain confidence, trust, and skills for developing self-sufficiency in their new country.

We’re also eager to have volunteers who are available for occasional projects. Our Furnishings Team is called into action about once a month, while the Communications and Fundraising teams require only a few hours of monthly commitment.

  • Employment mentoring: Volunteers help newcomers with job searches so they can achieve financial independence. Contact Rick Miller for more information.
  • Tutoring: Help families gain basic language capacity. Contact Barbara Beyna.
  • Fundraising: Help families meet emergency needs and access basic subsidies for families who are underemployed. Checks can be written to Lutheran Church of the Reformation (with notation of GNCH Refugee Resettlement). Contact Brendan Danaher.
  • Furnishings: Donate items for and help prep apartments for new arrivals. Contact Kathryn Tobias.
  • Website management: Assist with communications oversight of our GNCH website. Contact Karen Getman.

You can help reduce food waste! Food Rescue US has solved one of the biggest barriers to food donation—transportation. The group enlists volunteers to transfer excess food from businesses and restaurants that have too much to agencies that service people with too little. Using a handy app, the volunteers self-select food runs that fit their schedules; the whole process usually takes under an hour. It is very satisfying to know food is going where it is needed. For example, St. Mark’s parishioners Susan Sedgewick and Maureen Shea have been picking up food at We the Pizza and delivering it to Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s day hospitality center, Shirley’s Place.

Numerous runs are available every day of the week and in locations throughout the D.C. metropolitan area.  You can sign up for as many or a few as you like. For more information and to download the app, go to the website at www.foodrescue.us.