Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington
November 29, 2010
Like so many other volunteers for this organization, I was moved to contact SMGW by the enthusiastic example of people I admired at my church. There was an appeal for a volunteer on Fridays who would greet participants, help them feel at ease, and direct them to case-workers who could come to understand their situations of need . I began the following week (this was over ten years ago), and started an association with persons whose life circumstances differed sharply from my own. It was an association I’d long knew I needed, and one, after my wife’s illness, I knew was crucial to revive.
When I did return I asked if I could volunteer as a case worker, having received solid training in pastoral counseling. For four years now I meet twice a week with participants, and try to respond to them through an approach that is basic to our whole program: helping participants fulfill their challenges and goals by taking clear and feasible “next steps.” Often their needs involve both food and shelter. We can help in a limited way with food, but also can direct participants to other places and programs where food is available. Shelter is a common need, for so many of our participants are homeless or close to it. Each person has his/her own preferences and fears, and finding a shelter where a participant can feel adequately safe and reasonably comfortable is challenging. Our job is to encourage and support a participant in taking the next step of actually getting to the food bank or the shelter.
Sooner or later volunteers face the question of whether their hours a week spent assisting a non-profit organization is enough, or whether financial support is also imperative.
I’ve had some success in interesting others to volunteer at SMGW. And becoming a donor seemed to me as natural and necessary as pledging to my church, and on roughly the same scale. Those of us who can, put our resources where our heart leads us. Mine, most wonderfully, has led me to Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Knowing just how our participants have progressed by taking "next steps," and learning from their determination, courage and strength.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Try to get our mortgage paid off.
Volunteer & Office-coordinator and caseworker.