St. Mark’s is one of eight Capitol Hill congregations, known as Good Neighbors Capitol Hill (GNCH), providing Afghan refugee resettlement in Prince George’s County. This coalition of congregations in partnership with many other individuals of goodwill has furnished 60 apartments with donations from neighbors and friends.

Volunteers prepare apartments for new arrivals, tutor women and teens, assist those seeking employment and help families navigate life in a new culture. We have connected more than 25 Afghan families and 75 children to mentors/friends. 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 has connected with as tutors and employment mentors have been underemployed, but during the pandemic 89 percent 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 “GNCH 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 assist the newly arriving SIV Afghan refugees

Donate gently used furnishings, kitchen supplies, and bed and bath linens.  We are always looking for bunkbeds for larger families. Volunteer to help us prepare apartments. (Do interior decorating for a great cause!) Give generously to assist us in buying food and other necessary household items.

Other great ways 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 to become a member of a Mentoring Team 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.

  • Mentoring teams: Volunteers help newcomers navigate life in a new culture and develop confidence and capacity for themselves and their children.
  • Tutoring: Help families gain basic language capacity. GNCH will connect your with a partner organization for training and a student match.
  • Fundraising: Help families meet emergency needs and access basic subsidies for families who are underemployed. As noted above, checks can be sent to Lutheran Church of the Reformation (with notation for GNCH Refugee Resettlement).
  • Furnishings: Donate items for and help prep apartments for new arrivals.

Take a look at our website, www.goodneighborscapitolhill.org, for more information.