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 15 apartments with donations from our neighbors and friends. Through our tutoring and employment volunteers, we are connected to 20 Afghan families and 64 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.

How to participate: Mentoring relationships are essential to the assimilation of refugees. The basic requirement is a commitment of friendship. Our Afghan families gain confidence and trust and information for success in a new society through relationships.

  • Employment counseling: Join our Refugee Employment Team to help newcomers develop networks and skills for sustainable jobs.
  • Tutoring: Be part of a teaching team or support an individual to gain basic English language survival skills. We’ll help with materials and making connections.
  • 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 Refugee Resettlement Project).

Want to know more about the program or the events listed below? Please contact Karen Getman or Margaret McLaughlin to learn more.

Explore possibilities for team participation:

The following gatherings will take place in the St. Mark’s Elders Room on the lower level.

January 15, 7 – 8:30, Refugee Tutoring Team: Make a New Year’s Resolution and consider joining our tutoring team.  We can arrange a match with a stay-at-home mom who needs basic survival English, a dad hoping to improve his English for better employment possibilities, or a teen who is eager to graduate from high school. Hear from one of our tutors about the challenges and inspiring opportunities they have had. Find a partner to share the tutorial experience with you. Get info and materials from experienced ESL teachers.

January 22, 7 – 8:30 pm, Refugee Employment Team: Looking for a way to make a difference in chaotic times? Refugees need sustainable employment, and our Employment Team welcomes volunteers who can assist heads of household in their search. Join us as we ask questions and brainstorm best practices for employment assistance. We also consult with Afghans who have successfully transitioned to good jobs as well as more recent refugees who need advice.

Enjoy a concert and help support the Refugee Resettlement Program:

February 9, 7:30 pm, Benefit Concert and Reception—Celebrating Two Years of Good Neighbors Capitol Hill: The Capitol Hill Second Strings Ensemble has generously donated a performance in support of the Good Neighbors Capitol Hill work with Afghan refugees. This program for a winter evening, which will take place in St. Mark’s nave, will be a wonderful musical event as well as an opportunity to support the commitment of Good Neighbors Capitol Hill and help sustain our funds for emergency assistance, travel repayment, and computer or other special equipment needs. Tickets are $20 per person.

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.