On the last day in July, a group of 13 volunteers from Grace Lutheran Church in Chisholm, Minnesota arrived in the morning for a day of service with THC. They spent the morning telling lively stories about their home town while they volunteered at Partner Arms 1,
THC’s Permanent Supportive Housing building in the Petworth neighborhood of northwest DC. This energetic group of teens, parents and adults from the congregation quickly and efficiently cleaned out the storage shed and front lawn. They raked, pulled out weeds, bagged leaves, broke down old garden beds, cleaned and organized all before lunch.
Beyond service, the THC and Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington volunteer program incorporates opportunities to learn and reflect about the work they have done. In the spirit of this, the group spent time thinking about what their community is like and how it is both different and similar from DC. The group spent time walking around Petworth, Brightwood and 16th Street Heights — visiting historic landmarks like
Fort Stevens, the Military Road School, and Fort View Apartments, one of THC’s affordable housing apartments in the area. Volunteers noted the stark difference in houses from one area to another, intuitively understanding the wealth difference from neighborhood to neighborhood.
After learning more about the area, Grace Lutheran volunteers reflected on the causes and effects of homelessness. By the end of the experience one volunteer remarked that after this experience, they will, “no longer judge people for being homeless because it probably isn’t their fault that they are homeless, it can happen to any one of us”. The day was filled with powerful moments reminding both staff and volunteers that ending family homelessness is critical for the health of our communities both in DC and elsewhere.
Thank you to the volunteers of Grace Lutheran Church for your hard work and energy! Special thanks to Reverend Steve Breitbarth for organizing this trip. To see more photos from this inspiring volunteer day, visit our Facebook album.