HOW TO HELP IN THE TIME OF COVID-19:
The global Covid-19 pandemic has created persistent needs for those most vulnerable in the Washington, DC area.
Listed below are ways to assist local partners of St. John’s and learn about these organizations.
Communities in Schools
What: Cash donations to help the most vulnerable students and their families
How: Click on the button below. Click “donate” and note that the gift is for emergency relief.
What: To provide food and fellowship to members of our community who are experiencing homelessness or on the margins of homelessness, St. John’s parishioners volunteer once a month by preparing a hot meal and serving it at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown.
How: If you are interested in volunteering (to help prepare the meal and/or serve), please contact Elizabeth Field.
Refugee Committee at St. John’s
What: St. John’s is continuing to safely provide support to the refugee community in the DC area in this tough time. To find out more about the work of this committee, please contact Jess Sanchez.
Washington Interfaith Network
What: WIN has aggregated a number of ways to offer or receive emergency help through its partners at: https://www.windc-iaf.org/coronavirus/
Bishop John T. Walker School
The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys (BWS) is a tuition-free Episcopal school for children from traditionally underserved communities. The school nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, social-emotional, artistic, and physical development of its students in a Christian community of learners that welcomes boys of all faiths and beliefs. Working in close partnership with students and families, the school strives to create an environment where each boy is challenged to reach his full academic potential and receives the structured support necessary to develop his unique gifts.
BWS is primarily funded through the generosity of the philanthropic community, receiving funding from individuals, parishes, foundations, and corporations. There are numerous ways to get involved and support the school’s mission, from making a gift to volunteering as a Lunch Buddy or in the library. St. John’s has played an active role in the development of the school with consistent financial contributions as well as the annual Christmas book drive. Several St. John’s parishioners serve as representatives for BWS, including Andrew Clarke and Wande Johnson on the school’s Governing Board, Cay Buser on the Advisory Board; and JD Hague and Desiree Stolar on the Auxiliary Council. James Lowe served on the Governing Board until 2016.
Communities in Schools
Communities in Schools of the Nation’s Capital is the local affiliate of a nationwide dropout prevention program which harnesses community support for the most vulnerable students in the public schools. During the 2021–2022 school year, CIS served more than 5000 students in 12 DC public schools.
During the Covid pandemic, parishioners have been able to participate in several ways:
Cardozo Education Campus
- The Connected Closet – donate snacks, school supplies, and other items for needy students.
- Monthly Food Markets – assist with the distribution of food to families experiencing food insecurity.
- Deliveries – deliver food, supplies, and school materials to families without transportation.
As more in-person participation once again becomes possible, parishioners can expect to return to a wider variety of direct services to the students and their families. These include:
- Report Card Conferencing – meet one-to-one with students to review their report cards.
- Journaling – meeting with small groups of students for centered writing and art activities and a concluding trip to the National Gallery of Art.
- Alternative Learning Center – assist with setting up and furnishing a multipurpose room for the middle school. St. Johns was instrumental in creating an ALC for the upper school during the 2019–2020 school year.
Watch for further information in The Word and the Sunday leaflet, or contact ministry leaders Ann Gardner and Livy More.
Once a month, St. John’s parishioners volunteer with our partners at Grace’s Table, at Grace Church in Georgetown, to provide a meal to our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. To volunteer, please contact Elizabeth Field.
When Covid precautions permit, we will resume providing casseroles for SOME (So Others Might Eat), a ministry to the homeless and low-income individuals in DC, and Sandwich Sundays, when parishioners gather to make 1000 sandwiches for the homeless. Watch The Word and the Sunday service bulletin for dates.
St. John’s parishioners annually join together to repair and refurbish a house in the District of Columbia as part of the nationwide “Rebuilding Together” program. The program meets a critical need of elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners to preserve affordable housing by providing skilled services, volunteers, and materials to rehabilitate homes and revitalize neighborhoods for one day in April every year. Painting, landscaping, and repairs of all sorts, and fellowship are all part of a day’s activities that help a deserving member of the broader community. For more information, visit Rebuilding Together’s website.
We are in the midst of the largest refugee crisis in history. There are almost 26 million refugees worldwide, over half of whom are under the age of 18. The command we have been given as Christians is to welcome strangers to our community with hospitality and respect. As followers of Christ, we are committed to showing compassion, mercy, and love to our neighbors of all religions, knowing that every person reflects the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity. The SJC Refugee Committee builds relationships with refugees and immigrants in the metropolitan Washington community, learns their stories, and works to discover ways that our congregation can provide assistance. What kinds of things do we do?
- We welcome refugees to our community by preparing apartments and providing support for refugees’ employment search. For example, through Lutheran Social Services’ Good Neighbor program, SJC has prepared apartments for multiple incoming refugee families. We also provided ten laptops and two scholarships to refugees taking job development certifications or classes.
- We support refugee efforts of local non-profits and religious organizations. For example, the committee leveraged the annual SJC Lenten Food Drive to collect items specific to refugee needs (basmati rice, garbanzo beans, vegetable oil, and kitchen items) to support the non-profit No One Left Behind. We hosted a coat and blanket drive for Syrian refugees in conjunction with the drive led by the Northern Virginia Relief Center. And we volunteered at the Refugee’s First Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted by the Ethiopian Community Development Council; at the One Journey Festival hosted by St. George’s Episcopal Church; and at NoVa Friends of Refugees at the National Cathedral.
- We attend refugee focused exhibits and discussions as a group to educate ourselves on the issues. For example, we visited the Newseum’s REFUGEE exhibit; hosted a screening of Salaam Neighbor (journalists documented their visit to a refugee camp); read and discussed “City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp;” and invited the Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson (Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries) to speak about the refugee crisis and the response of the Episcopal church.
- We directly support a refugee family.
- In late 2021, the Refugee Committee of St. John’s Church formed a Tri-Parish Sponsor Circle with All Souls Episcopal Church in Washington and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, focused on helping in the resettlement of refugees. Nationally, the Sponsor Circle Program is recognized as a highly effective model for assisting interested parties, including communities of faith, prepare for the responsibilities connected with welcoming and supporting refugee families in their communities.
- The Tri-Parish group immediately began ZOOM planning meetings, and in February 2022, members welcomed an Afghan family of five to a newly-renovated apartment in Northern Virginia furnished with contributions from all three congregations.
- The young family has made great strides in adapting to a much-changed way of life in the United States, and the Tri-Parish Sponsor Circle continues its work to support the family in ways large and small. This includes helping secure healthcare and driving the family to appointments with doctors and dentists, enrolling the children in school, working to finalize needed documentation, and identifying appropriate English-learning programs. Perhaps most critically important, the Tri-Parish Sponsor Circle is actively helping the father identify both short-term and permanent employment opportunities, especially jobs in construction management, his profession in Afghanistan.
- If you are interested in being part of this important and rewarding effort, there are many ways to help. We are seeking job leads in construction, security, or IT. We are also searching for a used car that could be donated or bought at an affordable price. We also welcome financial donations and other offers of assistance, including drivers to take the family to appointments during the week.
For more information or to receive email updates about Committee efforts and upcoming events and meetings, contact Jessica Sanchez.
Toy, Clothing, and Food Drives
Clothing and food drives are held several times a year.
In November and December, St. John’s parishioners donate hundreds of toys and clothing items for the church’s Angel Tree Gift Drive for children and young adults who would otherwise go without gifts at Christmas. Each year, we partner with local organizations to bring joy to children in need. Each child provides a wish list of toys, books, and/or clothes that he or she is hoping to find underneath the Christmas tree, and the church community never disappoints with its generosity!
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)
St. John’s is a member of Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), a faith-based grassroots organization dedicated to improving the life of all residents of the District of Columbia. Founded in 1996, WIN is multi-faith, multi-racial and non-partisan. It has nearly fifty church, synagogue, union, and public-school members, representing 25,000 families in every section of the city.
WIN is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest community organizing network in the United States with more than 60 faith-based community organizations across the nation, including BUILD in Baltimore, MD and AIM in Montgomery County, MD.
Visit the Washington Interfaith Network website for more information.