Several weeks ago in this column, our Pastoral Associate for Liturgy David Pennington reflected the importance of living the real work of Easter every day. He wrote, “The real work of Easter is to practice becoming more Christ-like—to share all things in common, to dedicate ourselves to the hearing of Scripture and the Breaking of the Bread, to recognize the burning of our hearts when Christ makes himself present to us, and to share all of this with the world.” As we close out our academic year and start thinking about summer vacation, we can continue to share our gifts with the world. Easter, living a Christian life, doesn’t end in June, July and August.
Performing works of justice and serving others are only part of what it means to be an Easter people, but they are an important part. Over the summer, the service part (in particular) is almost more important than during the rest of the year. Many people in our community head out of town after Memorial Day, seeking a well-deserved break. But, there are also a large number of people in our community for whom summer brings no break. In fact, it brings some additional stress –children at home all day without supervision or the regular, free meals provided during the school year, summer heat without cooling or sky-high utility bills, and reduced supplies in local food pantries because the regular donors are on vacation.
Here is where we, Easter people, come in. Share your gifts with others for whatever portion of the summer you will be in town.
McKenna Food Drive. Every second Sunday of the month we collect non-perishable items for the Fr. McKenna Center’s food pantry. Our collections get really small in the summer. If you are here, mark the dates on your calendars – June 10, July 8, August 12 – and bring a few boxes of cereal, bags of rice, jars of peanut butter, or cans of fruits or vegetables. Make it a family project and take your children to the store to pick out your donations.
So Others Might Eat. Every fourth Sunday of the month we serve breakfast from at SOME. We’ve been doing it for 40 years. Don’t you want to be part of the tradition and the fun? Volunteers must be at least 13 years old and if you are under 16 you must be accompanied by a parent. It’s only four hours out of a Sunday. Contact: Patrick McCourt, email@example.com.
Saturday and Sunday Suppers. Every Sunday night we serve homeless men and women in the Georgetown community. There are many more than you think. Lately, we’ve been serving 90-100 guests a night. Make a dish, serve, meet some incredible guests or reconnect with some of our winter shelter residents. We ask that kids be no younger than 8 and that all children be accompanied by a parent. Contact: Mike Conway, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Wider Circle. Holy Trinity has had a relationship with A Wider Circle since its inception. This Silver Spring organization is fighting poverty on every level, but they start with the basic – getting people furniture, particularly beds, for newly acquired housing. You can help out by spending a few hours in their showroom/warehouse unpacking, cleaning, and organizing donations so that the families can find that perfect piece for their new apartment. Children 5 and over are welcome. Contact (301) 608-3504.
Martha’s Table, Georgetown Ministry Center, and Arlington Food Assistance Center. Make sandwiches or lunches for the homeless. Like toiletry packing, you can do this at home with a group of family and friends at any point. Martha’s Table likes sandwiches, particularly peanut butter and jelly. Georgetown Ministry Center also like sandwiches during the week – they are a small organization though, so call before you start making and determine when they need food. Arlington Food Assistance Center likes lunches – a sandwich, chips, fruit, and cookies. All of these are easy to do, taking probably an hour at most. So gather some folks together and help out. Contact: Martha’s Table, email@example.com; Georgetown Ministry Center, (202) 338-8301; AFAC, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rock Creek Conservancy. If you prefer to be outdoors during the summer weather, consider spending a few hours or a day caring for creation. The Rock Creek Conservancy organizes trail clean ups throughout the summer. Attend one of theirs, or just head over to your local park or trail with your family and spend a few hours picking up trash and recyclables. Contact: John Maleri, email@example.com.
These are just a few examples of ways to share your gifts this summer and to continue living the glory of Easter. Should you have any questions about these opportunities or other ways you might serve this summer, please feel free to contact Kate Tromble, firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 903-2809.