Get Your Congregation Involved

Faith-based organizations and congregations such as churches, synagogues, and mosques are in a unique position to help their neighbors while working to improve our community. There are many ways you can get together as a congregation to learn more about homelessness in our community and what you can do to fight it.

We welcome all faith groups as volunteers and we do not proselytize. It is our hope that the variety of groups who choose to volunteer with us will also represent the diversity among the clients we serve.

Here are seven actions your church, synagogue, or mosque can take to fight homelessness in Washington, D.C.

  1. Get a group together to do a service project or group activity. This increases the sense of community in your congregation and allows you to put your beliefs into actions. Please contact development@cflsdc.org or ask to speak to someone in Volunteer Services at 202-347-051, extension 415 for more information. Click one of the links to the left for more information about volunteer opportunities at CFLS.
  2. Consider taking up a collection, a church offering, or a bake sale in support of CFLS' fight against homelessness in the nation's capital. Every penny makes a difference and the contributions of a community working together have all the more force behind them. Should you have questions about where the congregation can attribute its donations or any other such questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Development Department at development@cflsdc.org or 202-347-0511, extension 415.
  3. Invite someone from our staff to deliver a "temple talk." Many congregations offer learning opportunities to their congregants. As it is important for individuals to understand the facts of their community in order for them to truly feel a part of it, an afternoon session inviting congregants to learn about homelessness, its causes, and what can be done to stop it is extremely important. Many members of our staff would be happy to speak with your congregation, educate them, and answer any remaining questions they may have about what can be done to stop homelessness in our community. Please contact our Development Department at development@cflsdc.org or 202-347-0511, extension 415 for more information.
  4. Encourage your congregants to assemble holiday food or toy baskets for homeless and low-income families. So many holidays revolve around food: turkey is the food most associated with Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July is celebrated with a barbeque, Christmas is often celebrated with a ham, Hanukkah is celebrated with latkes (potato pancakes), and Ramadan is celebrated with foods rich in dates and figs. But for families who have barely enough food on a regular basis, holiday meals are often particularly sparse. If your congregation celebrates a holiday, whether it be religious in nature or not, consider collecting baskets of food which we may be able to distribute to needy seniors and families. Fill the basket with food that is typical to your holiday or click here to find a list of the food items most needed by our clients. If you would like to organize the donations of food baskets from your congregation, please contact our Volunteer Services Department at development@cflsdc.org or 202-347-0511, extension 415 for more information.

  5. Or, if your holiday is typically filled with toys, consider making toy baskets for our children. Most often, our children receive baskets of toys during December and late March or Early April. During the months of November and December, we also collect toys for our toy drive. Click here for more information.
  6. Encourage your congregation to give Gifts of Hope this holiday season. The Lutheran Church typically encourages its congregants to consider alternative giving methods during the holiday season. These include making a gift to a charity in somebody else's name.
  7. Participate in the United Lutheran Appeal. In 2002, the Metropolitan Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America launched an annual appeal on behalf of thirteen non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. Community Family Life Services was lucky enough to be included in this list of thirteen agencies. If you receive information about the United Lutheran Appeal through your church, please consider participating. More information about the United Lutheran Appeal can be found at the Metropolitan Washington Synod's website.
  8. For more ideas or to share with your congregation, print and share this PDF.

For more information about volunteering at CFLS or with specific questions, please contact development@cflsdc.org or 202-347-0511, extension 415.

To download a volunteer application click here. The completed form may be sent to development@cflsdc.org or Volunteer Services; 305 E Street, NW; Washington, D.C. 20001 or faxed to 202-347-0520.