How are you feeling about the approaching holiday season? As we near the end of 2022, our first “Post Pandemic” year, we know that re-entry into society has taken on different forms for different people. For some, it has presented a real challenge.
As we prepare for upcoming holidays, Tysons Interfaith is pleased to offer a series of blog posts authored by members of our faith communities that highlight reflections on self, our place in the world, and suggestions for re-entering society and promoting comity among family and friends.
The interfaith community has observed a noticeable reluctance to rejoin in-person sociality after the isolation of COVID lockdowns. It may be that it’s just easier or feels safer to attend online. For others it may be the challenge of depression or addiction resulting from isolation.
In addition, recovering from COVID isolation during the upcoming holiday season intersects with the long-standing problem of isolation and disappointment felt by many during the holidays.
The phrase “to put yourself out there,” while it may be overused, has an important element of truth: there is risk in trying to develop or maintain a friendship. What if my outreach is not reciprocated?
Nevertheless, people need people. A friendly word, a smile, an unexpected act of kindness, or an interest in others can be life-changing or at least help us through another day. It’s been said that if you are with a group of people and assume that half of the group is facing a life crisis, you’ll be right most of the time. Whichever half we’re on, in-person interactions can be the “Balm of Gilead.”
Call upon your faith in God to help you have the courage to make the effort to resume in-person sociality by trying to focus on lighting up someone else’s life. Try the smile, the compliment, the kind word, an unexpected card or gift. Especially in all-important family relationships, express appreciation, offer help, ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness, or if needed make an apology. Listen. Look for common ground. See the good in others; everyone has a gift and talent.
If we feel alone, volunteer to help others. With thousands of refugees and new immigrants in Northern Virginia, the needs are great. In volunteering you meet the best people in the community. You may wish to visit the Tysons Interfaith website Resources page, which lists volunteer opportunities and area non-profits with whom our faith communities partner. When we lighten the burdens of others, our burdens seem lighter.
Take advantage of your unique opportunity to fill the world with peace and goodwill this holiday season!
I wanted to share with you an exceptional program I have been involved with that is currently seeking volunteers.
Work Life from Jobs for Life, is an eight-week Biblically based program that seeks to break the cycle of joblessness and poverty by giving people the tools they need to find and maintain meaningful employment.
Mentors, teachers and professional coaches are needed for the upcoming class which will meet January 9 – March 9, 2023 on Mondays and Thursdays from 7pm – 9pm at the Lamb Center, 3160 Campbell Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031. Business owners and managers who are interested in helping people step into financial health are also needed.
While this is a Christian-based program, I have worked with volunteers and clients from a of a variety of faith traditions. It is so rewarding to be reminded of the brotherhood of humanity as together, we restore a sense of purpose and dignity to people and families in need.
There will be an In-person interest meeting on Saturday, October 29 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Lamb Center.
For additional information, please visit this write-up from Centreville Presbyterian Church: https://centrevillepres.com/project/jobs-for-life/
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
Have you been thinking about volunteering and you’re wondering what organizations are out there needing help? Here is a great opportunity for you to explore.
On October 12, 13, and 14, 2022, Fairfax County will host a virtual “Venture Into Volunteering Fair.” More than two dozen non-profit organizations and Fairfax County agencies will share how they incorporate volunteers into service, and all will be available to answer questions. (Although this event is listed on the Fairfax County Department of Family Services Older Adults webpage, volunteerism has no age restriction!)
October 12, 13 and 14
10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
by phone: 888-270-9936
Conference Code: 114531
You can join at any time, for any of the 30-minute presentations. No pre-registration is necessary.
For more information on the organizations featured in each session, and the daily fair schedule, visit the Fairfax County Venture Into Volunteering page. If you are unable to attend a particular session, or have questions after the event, feel free to reach out to that organization directly using the contact information in the daily fair schedule.
If you have questions about this event, technical assistance, or need reasonable accommodations, please contact VolunteerSolutionsRecruitment@FairfaxCounty.gov or call 703-324-5406.
Can’t make the virtual fair? Check out service opportunities and Tysons-area nonprofits listed on the Tysons Interfaith Resource page: https://tysonsinterfaith.org/resources/
According to an article from the Stanford Center for Longevity, there is a relationship between volunteering and improved physical health and cognitive function. “Research also shows that volunteers report elevated mood and less depression, and that volunteers report increased social interactions and social support, better relationship quality, and decreased loneliness.” longevity.stanford.edu/three-reasons-why-people-dont-volunteer-and-what-can-be-done-about-it/ A recent contributor to Deseret News had this to say about her volunteer experience: “I’ve experienced the boost in happiness, the sense that I was part of something bigger. I made friends, formed connections that I still have to this day, and I felt more optimistic about the world when I was surrounded by people who, like me, were trying to help others.” www.deseret.com/coronavirus/2022/4/17/23024241/will-the-volunteers-come-back-nonprofit-volunteering-covid-pandemic.
Of course, volunteerism strengthens communities as well. As people of different backgrounds come together to serve our neighbors, we discover that we have much more in common than we ever imagined. Getting to know our neighbors and working together to lend a hand is an antidote to the violence, divisiveness, and acrimony we are reading in today’s headlines. Whether it is one-on-one mentoring, serving meals, doing laundry at a homeless shelter, cleaning up a local park or working at an animal shelter, or many other opportunities, each selfless act truly does help make the world a better place.
While all of this is good news, non-profits are struggling to find volunteers to meet their needs. A Gallup survey published in January 2022 concluded that, “monetary charitable donations are mostly back to their pre-pandemic levels, while volunteerism still lags.” news.gallup.com/poll/388574/charitable-donations-rebound-volunteering-down.aspx
This is being borne out by the experience of some of our local area non-profits. One example is The Lamb Center in Fairfax which provides daytime drop-in services to people experiencing homelessness. Tara Ruszkowski, Executive Director, reports that one of the Center’s biggest challenges right now is finding enough volunteers to meet their needs. “The Lamb Center has seen a marked increase in daily visits from our homeless neighbors. We are back to pre-COVID levels, serving over 100 people a day! As the number of individuals who come for services rises, our need for support increases. Now is a great time to join our efforts! We are currently seeking volunteers for our kitchen, front desk, and clothing closet. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in joining our volunteer team!”
So …. ready to move on, roll up your sleeves and make a difference? Check in with your local house of worship, or check out opportunities on the Tysons Interfaith Resources Page: (Be sure to take a look at the list of amazing local non-profits in our area.) tysonsinterfaith.org/resources/
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
The following log is being presented in a series of weekly installments. To read this document in its entirety, please visit philchurch.substack.com
We have been “observing” both Christian Easter Season and Muslim Ramadan this year. The choice was ours but then maybe, as part of some divine equation, it was not. Whatever, it has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience, one worth sharing. Notice that we put “observing” in quotes, because the month-long sun-up-to-sun-down fasting part of Ramadan is a bit more than we can handle. (Certain exemptions from fasting exist, of course, for the pregnant, elderly and the infirm among others.)
Our Ramadan observations began on Friday afternoon, April 1. That day Phil responded to a knock on the door, opened and welcomed HM into our home. Twenty-seven-year-old HM is part of the second wave of Afghan evacuees to arrive in America since August 2021. He left Kabul, Afghanistan in January 2022 for Islamabad, Pakistan where the US Embassy arranged for him to fly to a US military base outside Doha, Qatar. There, he underwent background checks, physical exams and vaccinations, and processing of his special immigrant visa (SIV) application.
In mid-March HM boarded a Qatar Airlines flight to Dulles International where he was met by his US sponsoring organization, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington which arranged short-term lodging for him and for some other Afghan evacuees at an Arlington hotel. When his US government-funded lodging allowance was exhausted, HM was expected to find other living arrangements that he could afford – not an easy task in Northern Virginia, one of the region’s most expensive and competitive housing markets.
HM is now our houseguest. We’re getting to know this interesting and intelligent young man, supporting his efforts to resettle in America, learning about the troubling challenges facing his parents and siblings still living in Kabul, Afghanistan, and meeting some of his friends from the growing Afghan diaspora here in Northern Virginia. The following is a daily log of events surrounding HM’s stay with us during the month of Ramadan.
[Note: As a precaution against possible repercussions by the Taliban government against family members remaining in Afghanistan, US State Department protocols urge that, until safe to do so, communications, particularly electronic media use initials in place of full names of Afghan refugees resettling in the US.]
WEEK 1 – GETTING ACQUAINTED
DAY 0 (THURSDAY, MARCH 31) – A phone call. It’s Thursday afternoon when Phil’s cell phone rings. On the other end is NF, a former Afghan employee of the US Embassy in Kabul with whom Phil is working on his job search. NF is resettling in America with his wife and three daughters. They arrived in the US as evacuees in September and settled into housing in Pittsburgh, PA. Phil hasn’t talked with NF for a few weeks, not since NF started working.
NF is calling with a request. A former work colleague in Kabul, HM, arrived in Virginia three weeks earlier. HM has now exhausted his two-week lodging allowance but has not yet found a place to live on his own or with friends. He does not yet have documents needed to work or to rent an apartment here. NF asks if can Phil talk to HM and see if there is anything he could do to help him find a place where he can afford to live. Phil agrees to talk to HM.
Within an hour HM calls Phil. He explains he can’t afford the hotel’s nightly room charge that his resettlement agency had been paying up to that time. His Afghan friends in the area have large families in small apartments; they just can’t take him in. HM is open to whatever Phil can suggest as to a cheaper place he might stay while he gets his papers in order and conducts his job search. He needs to check out of his hotel by noon the next day, Friday, also the day before the month-long Muslim Ramadan begins. Phil and HM exchange email addresses. Phil asks HM to send his resume.
Off the phone with HM, Phil calls the Catholic Charities office to inquire about HM’s refugee status but no one answers and all voice mail boxes are full, an indicator most likely of just how overwhelmed are the nine nonprofit agencies contracted nation-wide by the US government to resettle arriving Afghan refugees. Phil emails the organization but is not hopeful for an immediate reply. He has the evening to ponder the situation; he calls to consult Connie who is at our daughter’s townhouse for some mother/daughter time together. Phil and Connie concur that, absent any other viable options, HM could stay with us for awhile.
DAY 1 (FRIDAY, APRIL 1) – HM arrives. Phil’s morning is hectic. He reaches out again to Catholic Charities and is now able to leave a voice message and email address. By late morning he does get a proforma email message back that it is the organization’s policy not to release to third parties any information about its clients. Dead end, but understandable. Phil calls HM’s cell to see if he has been able to make any alternative living arrangements. None. Phil looks over HM’s resume. It indicates a college degree in computer sciences with lots of IT certifications and work experience with USG contractors in Kabul. The resume is well-written, reflective of the very good English with which HM communicates over the phone.
Phil invites HM to stay at our house in one of our empty-nester bedrooms. He offers to come to the hotel to get HM and his things. HM accepts the offer to stay with Phil and Connie but indicates that one of his Afghan friends will bring him to our home.
HM arrives with his Afghan friend, JN, who came to the US two years earlier and is living in Alexandria in a small apartment with his wife and six school-age children. Phil invites both HM and JN in and they settle into the sunroom for some tea and cookies and a brief chat. Phil senses that he is being sized up by both HM and JN who likely are a bit uncomfortable imposing on a Christian household, on such short notice for an indeterminate period of time. Phil must have passed the test, because after an hour, JN indicates he must get back to work and they will get HM’s suitcase and gear from his car.
Phil shows HM the bedroom that he has quickly arranged to accommodate him. Phil suggests HM freshen up and then they go out and get some lunch together and talk. Phil takes HM to his favorite take-out ‘gourmet’ restaurant, POPEYE’S! Phil, thinking ahead buys a few extra pieces of chicken realizing Connie could return home from our daughter’s might be hungry enough to excuse his wandering off onto the no-fast-food path.
That evening Connie prepares a shrimp appetizer – HM, growing up in a landlocked country – has not experienced very much seafood – and meat balls and spaghetti for dinner. HM is hungry but not very enthused about the shrimp or the meatballs. Not spicy enough we will learn later. The rest of the evening we talk and plan for the next day. HM expresses concerns over his Ramadan fasting commitment and how that might impact our daily routine. Phil and Connie tell HM that we’ve lived and worked in Muslim countries – Bangladesh and Pakistan – and are familiar with Islamic practices. HM appears relieved at hearing that.
DAY 2 (SATURDAY, APRIL 2) – Ramadan begins. Phil works with HM today on his job resume. Though HM’s written English is very good, his five-page resume needs some rewording to bring it down to just two pages of more focused information and to highlight his accomplishments better. HM works on revisions over a good share of the rest of the day. He is now fasting (since sun-up) and will not eat or drink till after sunset about 7:15pm. Connie wonders what to fix for dinner. In the middle of that quandary the doorbell rings and it is another of HM’s friends who has come to drop off Iftar (dinner) food for the three of us. Later HM explains the Muslim tradition of sharing Iftar food with others during Ramadan. We graciously accept the rice biryani, cut up chicken, and spicy okra vegetable dish. We eat well that evening. HM observes Phil’s and Connie’s practice of preceding dinner asking God’s blessing; we observe as, is HM’s practice, that he follows dinner with his thanks, “Praise Allah (God) who has fed us!”
DAY 3 (SUNDAY, APRIL 3) – HM’s family in Kabul. Connie and Phil had hoped to take HM to church service with them this morning. The night before, he had responded positively to our invitation and expressed interest in the experience. But when we tapped on his door in the morning we were greeted with a very drawn and exhausted HM who appeared to have had a sleepless night. We worried about that one shrimp or the meatballs, but later we would learn that he had been on his computer using WhatsApp to communicate with his family – Kabul time is nine hours ahead of ours – and HM admits he is a bit stressed and unsettled. Maybe next Sunday ….
Later in the day, HM explains that when he left Afghanistan, he left his mother and father, a sister and a brother still in Kabul. HM’s father works in a government statistics and census office. Under the Taliban government he is still expected to report to his ministry job daily but there is neither work to do or nor money to pay him. He tried to resign, HM reports, but the government refused his request. His father feared that if his father just stopped showing up for work there might be unfavorable repercussions for his family.
When we return from church, we find HM sitting in our living room with HS, yet another Afghan refugee friend. HS, we learn, is a trained dentist who came out of Afghanistan in early September with his family of 11 including wife, kids, parents and grandparents. He has been resettled nearby in Woodbridge. HS needs to pass the Virginia state dental board exams before he can continue his practice in Virginia. That will require at least a year of so more to prepare. Until then he is only able to work as a much lower-paid dental assistant.
There is one happy note: HM has been using HS’s home as his mailing address to receive letter mail related to his refugee status. HM’s social security card arrived in the mail and HS brought it to him today. HM is one important step closer to qualifying for employment.
DAY 4 (MONDAY, APRIL 4) – Halal food shopping. Connie and HM go food shopping at a Halalco supermarket in a nearby area where many middle eastern as well as Hispanic immigrants have settled. Their objective is to pick up some food items HM thinks Connie and Phil would enjoy eating. The items they bring home include 1×3 foot flat bread, very hot chili spices, specially seasoned ground beef, basmati rice and Tunisian dates. (Note: See photo image. Breaking fast with water and grapes is an Islamic practice that dates back 14 centuries to the life of the Muslim prophet, Mohamud.) HM sets about preparing Halal dinner with Connie helping. It’s a unique and delicious meal we have for dinner. HM has very developed cooking skills far exceeding Phil’s, for sure.
DAY 5 (TUESDAY, APRIL 5) – Opening a bank account. Today, one of HM’s friends comes by to take him to set up a bank account, now that he has a SSN. While Connie is out of the house doing volunteer AARP tax advising and HM is getting his bank account set up, Phil is left alone. He takes advantage of the moment to ‘break fasting’ and sneak a couple of pieces of leftover POPEYE’S chicken from the fridge.
DAY 6 (WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6) – Computer Geek as well as Gourmet cook. The router signal is very weak in the back bedroom where HM sleeps and works so he sets up his laptop at the kitchen table. Not good for his privacy and concentration when working. Our home wireless router needs a booster, he tells Phil. Can HM install a booster? asks Phil. Sure, says HM. Off to Best Buy they go and in less than a half hour after they return, HM has the booster installed and paired to our router with a strong enough wireless signal to return to working in his bedroom. HM is now hard into looking exploring job websites and talking via WhatsApp with his family in Kabul, often till the early hours of the morning.
DAY 7 (THURSDAY, APRIL 7) – A Ramadan fasting secret: cut the day in half by sleeping late. HM wakes up and appears downstairs about 2:00pm today to chat, no food, of course. He was up a good share of the night working till about 4:00am sending off job resumes and filling out job applications. Phil and Connie discover that during Ramadan, HM will spend his late evenings and early mornings on ZOOM working on his job search and talking with his family in Kabul while snacking, so he is plenty full with only a short half day to fast when he wakes up around noon. A young Muslim man’s clever way of accommodating lifestyle and religious practice.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
On Sunday, May 22nd, recently arrived Afghan neighbors received free dental health care at Grove Dental Clinic, the office of Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry in Falls Church. Dentists and other dental professionals volunteered their time to see almost seventy patients. FamilUSA, a non-profit working with local Afghan families, coordinated the logistics and paperwork with the families. Local elected officials came out to support the event, which was covered by WTOP and NBC4.
This was truly an interfaith event, with participation from the McLean Islamic Center, Dar Al Hijrah, Temple Rodef Shalom, Congregation Olam Tikvah, the Knights of Columbus, the Rotary, Tysons Interfaith, ICD (Interfaith Communities for Dialogue), and JAMAAT (Jews and Muslims and Allies Acting Together). Raj Khalsa Gurdwara provided 200 bagged Sikh burrito meals for patients and volunteers.
Tysons Interfaith assembled hand-sewn mesh gift bags for patients which included welcome cards in Pashto that were decorated with drawings by young people from Redeemer Lutheran, the McLean Islamic Center, and the McLean Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Knights of Columbus raised funds to support transportation for the Afghan families for the event and both the Knights of Columbus and Tysons Interfaith provided toys for the children.
Local faith communities continue to work with our Afghan neighbors in dealing with the challenges they face integrating into their new lives here. On this recent Sunday in May, I was blessed to be able to join with people of many different faith traditions in support of them and in fellowship with one another at Afghan Dental Day.
Each week, one of the things mentioned in the prayers at my church is an appeal to God to help us be good stewards of his creation. This always really speaks to me.
I grew up in an agricultural community and to this day continue to learn from my mother best practices for vegetable gardening and composting. In raised beds in our back yard in McLean, lettuce and spinach seeds are just starting to emerge as tender green leaves!
Whether you garden or not, this is such a beautiful time of year to get out of doors, experience the rebirth of nature and celebrate Earth Day!
Here are a couple of links for Earth Day activities in Fairfax County:
Ramadan is expected to begin at sundown on Friday, April 2. To our Muslim friends, we say, “Ramadan Murbarak.” And we bring to you, with our gratitude, this blog post written by Zaiba Hasan of the McLean Islamic Center:
It is almost the holy month of Ramadan, and I have a confession to make to you all – I am not the best fasting person. I really feel like I am Zombie Zaiba all day. Someone permanently hangry, if you will. I am not proud of this title but in an effort to be authentic I try to share the good, the bad, the ugly.
Ramadan for me has always been a mixed bag. I feel excitement along with trepidation mixed with anxiety for weeks before the holy month begins. My children start talking in hushed whispers –fasting mama is coming, with slight fear in their eyes. However, in an attempt to fix my attitude I want to focus on five lessons I have learned during this holy month, and that I hope to carry lessons with me for the remainder of the year. I pray – especially if fasting (and all that goes with it) isn’t easy for you either – that these lessons help you stay the course during the Ramadan and beyond.
Family: Nothing brings a family together faster than saying, “It’s almost Maghreb.” My house sounds like a herd of elephants stampeding through the jungle before I can even get that last word out. As we sit around the table, in our dazed, hungered state, we share stories about the day, laugh at silly jokes my second grader loves to tell, and talk about some of the issues going on in the world today. I realize in our crazy schedule of work, school, practices, homework – we don’t do enough family dinners. My hope for when Ramadan ends is that we can continue to take a break from our hectic lives and make a point to connect as a family around the dinner table and in other ways.
Gratitude: Nothing gives you the most sense of gratitude then that first drink of ice cold water at sunset after you’ve been sitting outside in 90 degree weather at your son’s baseball game for three hours. After a long day of fasting I have the luxury of being able to break my fast with a delicious meal, a beautiful roof over my head, surrounded by the people I love most in this world.
The fact that two percent of the world’s population are homeless and close to 20 percent lack adequate housing isn’t lost to me and as I take that first sip of water. I am forever grateful that I am able to break that fast when others don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We all, those of us privileged to be able to break our fast with adequate food and drink and enjoy shelter, cannot be grateful enough.
Charity: The definition of fasting really means to abstain or to do without. Nothing heightens your sense of giving than to feel physically what it is like to do without. During the month of Ramadan more people are apt to donate their zakat  or give sadaqa  since this is the month of fasting, prayer and charity. However, why only give in Ramadan, or only give as generously as you do during this holy month? The act of charity should continue into the rest of the year. Whether you are donating your dollars or time, it never hurts to give to others. (Here are nine charities you can support in Ramadan and beyond through your volunteer hours, with monetary donations or both. Still looking for a good charity? Here are eight more!)
Prayer: I have another admission to make. I am not the best at prayer. I do them quickly or sometimes forget to do them at all. (I know. This is terrible). However, Ramadan brings a new sense of spirituality and connection to something bigger than myself. When you feel the pangs of hunger and thirst, it is a physical reminder of your devotion to something bigger than yourself. To take the time out of our crazy days to stop and take a break for salah, means to take a breather, have a conversation with God and readjust our attitudes to the world around us. If I can continue to do this with regularity and focus, I feel like I can only benefit from this the rest of the year.
(Here are four ways to get better about your five daily prayers and other simple spiritual goals to center in Ramadan and beyond.)
Patience: Part of my personal mission this year was to maintain my patience when my patience was at its thinnest. When your head is pounding from lack of caffeine and your children (or hubby) are grating on your nerves, it’s easy to yell out in frustration. My goal this Ramadan was to limit those outbursts as much as I could. To not let my hangry self lash out at the others around me. Like my daughter loves to tell me, “You are a grumpy fasting person.” Ouch, but it’s true. I will instead focus on gratitude, charity, prayer, and patience for the rest of the year and if God allows me to see another Ramadan, my hope is to be a better person than I am today. Until next time….
 The evening prayer that marks the end of the fasting day
 za·kat /zəˈkät/ noun obligatory payment made annually under Islamic law on certain kinds of property and used for charitable and religious purpose.
 Sadaqah or Sadaka (Arabic: صدقة ,IPA: [sˤɑdæqɐ], “charity”, “benevolence”, plural ṣadaqāt صدقات( in the modern context has come to signify “voluntary charity”. According to the Quran, the word means voluntary offering, whose amount is at the will of the “benefactor”.
Looking for ways to help the Ukrainian people? The consensus is that cash donations made to organizations working on the ground is the best way to help.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and Tysons Interfaith cannot endorse any particular group, but the following links may be of assistance as you consider your options:
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID) provides a list of organizations responding in Ukraine: https://www.cidi.org/disaster-responses/ukraine-crisis/
- This NPR piece highlights a few organizations providing assistance: https://www.npr.org/2022/02/25/1082992947/ukraine-support-help
- The US State Department has partnered with GoFundMe to raise funds to address the humanitarian needs of the people affected by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. All donations raised will be distributed to verified nonprofit organizations supporting vulnerable communities to obtain access to shelter, food, medical services, education, and psychosocial support, as well as other people impacted https://www.gofundme.com/f/ukraine-humanitarian-fund
- St Andrew Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral in DC is collecting medical supplies and other items through an Amazon wishlist that they are distributing to people on the ground in Ukraine. MOST IMPORTANT THINGS NEEDED: Medical Supply (bandaids, Neosporin, ibuprofen, etc). NO LIQUIDS, NO BATTERIES, NO CLOTHING, NO MILITARY COMBAT EQUIPMENT, NO DIAPERS. Order on amazon and/or deliver to: 15100 New Hampshire Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20905 Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2ADMR0OG6MBVX?ref=cm_sw_sm_r_un_un_m4ZOH13VxHHyO
- World Central Kitchen, founded by Chef José Andrés, is responding: https://wck.org/
- Lutheran World Relief is working in Eastern Europe: https://donate.lwr.org/give/393187
- Episcopal Relief and Development has established a Ukraine Crisis Response, Fund, working with organizations on the ground in Europe: https://support.episcopalrelief.org/ukraineresponse
Finally, people of good will of different faith traditions are joining together to call for peace in the region. An example of this united voice can be found here: https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8131
MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
Showing compassion/serving can come in many forms. It can be as simple as reaching out to someone you have not talked to in a long time, checking on an elderly neighbor, or buying lunch for an overworked medical professional.
If you are interested in MLK Jr. Day projects on a larger scale, here are a few ideas that were shared in my church’s monthly newsletter:
Potomac Stewards Cleanup — river cleanup at Four Mile Run and at Jones Point Park. www.eventbrite.com/e/potomac-stewards-cleanup-martin-luther-king-jr-day-of-service-tickets-37495579287?aff=es2
Volunteer Arlington — make meals, assemble winter care packages, clean up parks, assemble children’s blankets for homeless shelters, learn about hunger and affordable housing, etc. volunteer.leadercenter.org/2022-mlk-day-service
District of Columbia
City Year — projects at three schools in the H Street NE corridor. www.cityyear.org/dc/events/mlk-day-of-service/
Washington National Cathedral — a virtual event for families; will include a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter Ms. Yolanda Renee King. cathedral.org/event/remaining-awake-a-service-in-observance-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-day/
Volunteer Fairfax — event is geared toward elementary-aged kids and their parents with various service stations. www.volunteerfairfax.org/events/mlk-jr-weekend-of-service-2022/
Potomac Stewards Cleanup — river cleanup at Turkey Run in McLean. www.eventbrite.com/e/potomac-stewards-cleanup-martin-luther-king-jr-day-of-service-tickets-37495579287?aff=es2
Reston Community Center — three days of activities: concerts, packing of lunches, outdoor cleanup, and a special activity for 1st-6th graders at RCC Hunters Woods. www.restoncommunitycenter.com/attend-shows-events-exhibits/2022-mlk-celebration
Falls Church Chamber of Commerce — “March for Social Justice, Unity, and Racial Healing” begins at the Tinner Hill Monument in the area where African-American families bought land after the Civil War and whose descendants established the first rural branch of the National Association for the Protection of Colored People. www.fallschurchchamber.org/events/details/3rd-annual-martin-luther-king-day-march-for-social-justice-unity-and-racial-healing-01-17-2022-32569