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October 22, 2017: All Souls Care -- Partnership with Samaritan Ministry
A few years back, as I was pondering how to allocate my charitable donations, I realized that for me, some of the most pressing problems in the city are homelessness and poverty. But I wasn’t sure about how best to address these issues. Like many people, when I encounter individuals on the street asking for money, I am conflicted. I want to help my neighbors, but fear that simply giving money will support an addiction that thwarts their efforts to get back on their feet.

by Karen Lightfoot

A few years back, as I was pondering how to allocate my charitable donations, I realized that for me, some of the most pressing problems in the city are homelessness and poverty. But I wasn’t sure about how best to address these issues. Like many people, when I encounter individuals on the street asking for money, I am conflicted. I want to help my neighbors, but fear that simply giving money will support an addiction that thwarts their efforts to get back on their feet.

I learned from my friend and fellow All Souls parishioner, Melissa Barrett, about Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, which helps the homeless and those who are struggling to get  back on their feet, one step at a time. With volunteers and caseworkers, participants set goals – whether it be employment, housing, education – and break down achieving their goals into a series of manageable next steps.

I have heard participants talk about their overwhelming despair and helplessness, and how with Samaritan Ministry’s help they have been able to find a path forward. Examples of basic but effective supports Samaritan Ministry provides include help with writing a resume, making a computer available for job searches and applications, providing appropriate clothing for an interview, or support in getting a government-issued ID.

About 50 Episcopal parishes around our area support the work of Samaritan Ministry in various ways. As the All Souls parish representative, I attend bimonthly meetings with the other parish representatives; and back at our church I have helped to lead donation efforts such as our recent toiletries drive and a women’s clothing drive. Melissa and I put together a Spanish-themed basket of delicious goodies for this year's gala and auction, and I worked on getting contributions to the auction from local businesses. (The gala is next Saturday night, Oct. 28, so you can definitely still attend, and if you’re interested in getting involved in other activities, I’d be very happy to have a partner All Souls representative!)

Many of us are blessed with family, friends, and a community that we can turn to when times are hard.  But due to bad choices, bad luck, or simply the fates, not everyone has such resources.  As the saying goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.” So I am thankful that Samaritan Ministry exists, and glad to support their work.

 

Last Published: October 18, 2017 1:46 PM
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