W.A.R.M – Wrapping Arms Around Many, is an organization run by (25+) local churches staffed by church volunteers with support from the Department of Social Services. Upon assessment by DSS, many of the homeless are housed by local churches throughout the coldest winter months, November through April. Good Sam has been participating in this effort for ten years and have been blessed by many in the homeless community that we would have otherwise not gotten to know.
This year we will house and feed our homeless brothers and sisters during the week of February 9-16. Our week will begin with a major transformation of the fellowship hall directly after fellowship time, where we will set up cots and an eating area. The guests arrive each evening around 6pm and are served dinner. Throughout the week, we will serve breakfast and dinner each day, watch movies, play game, and just fellowship. At the end of the week (Sunday, 16th), our fellowship hall will transform back to its norm set up following breakfast with our guest. All of this will take a HUGE volunteer effort. Many of you are aware of this and have participated in the past, some of you are new and may want some more information.
Whether a longtime volunteer or new to the program, on Sunday, January 12th Gail Wathen will be offering an opportunity to have a conversation and discuss volunteer opportunities during coffee and conversation. Please join Gail as we plan another successful year welcoming our neighbors during our WARM week.
Good Sam Happenings
March 1 Ash Wednesday Service @ 7 pm – with Imposition of Ashes
March 5 [Sunday Theme] “Walking the Walk When It’s Rocky Ahead”
[March 5 through March 12 is WARM week at Good Sam when we welcome our homeless neighbors with warm meals and cots for a safe and sheltered night’s sleep.]
March 8 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 12 [Sunday Theme] “The Early Footsteps of Faith”
March 15 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 19 [Sunday Theme] “Where Do You Get That “Living Water” Stuff?”
All Congregation Learning Event @10 am “Invitation and Hospitality”
March 22 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 26 [Sunday Theme] “Jesus Chooses the Blind Guy!”
March 29 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
On THURS., OCT. 20, 7:00 pm an informational meeting will introduce a new ministry known as “Work Life,” whose purposes is “Poverty Alleviation through Work.” While this program is sponsored by Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, this meeting is at Lexington Park UMC. We are seeking individuals, business & organizations to help mentor persons in the principles & skills needed to become a “good employee.” This is for individuals to learn about serving as mentors, as well as business owners who may be willing to employ graduates of this program. For more information: Dave Perrin, email@example.com or 301-862-0207.
Another informational meeting will be held Thursday, October 27, 7:00 pm at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church.
As you work with people in our community to alleviate poverty, you may ask yourself, “Why don’t these people just get a job?” Or you may have thought, “If this person just had a good, steady job, then they would be able to take care of themselves.” And isn’t that part of the purpose of every person – to work, create, produce, contribute to society while taking care of themselves and their families?
If you’ve thought this in the past, I think you might be interested in joining a community ministry to help people get and keep good jobs.
“WorkLife of SoMD” is a network of churches and businesses working together to alleviate poverty in Southern Maryland by teaching willing participants soft job skills, encouraging them through mentorship and friendship, and empowering them through employment. WorkLife of SoMD uses a program called Work Life, produced by the Chalmers Center for Economic Development (in partnership with Jobs for Life and Advance Memphis). This is the same organization that produced the book, When Helping Hurts, and many other related resources.
There are 3 parts to Work Life:
- The Work Life curriculum uses biblical principles, proven job-skills training techniques, and engaging adult learning methods to ensure the participants understand and internalize the information.
- Work Life also incorporates mentors, called “Allies,”to provide the relational/friendship support that people so need when trying to make big life changes… and this support continues throughout the first 6 months or year after graduation.
- Work Life also works with employers with the intent to provide each graduate a job opportunity, as well as providing interactive training by employers during the course itself.
Work Life is planning to start the first class in January, 2017. This first class will include interested and qualified participants from the W.A.R.M. program, but will also include participants from the broader community, too.
How can people get involved? There are 2 main ways to be part of the program:
- Allies are a type of mentor that journeys with a participant as they learn and grow. Allies do not have to attend all classes, but be ready to help participants apply lessons to real life.
- Business partners help provide jobs, help the program network with other employers, and can participate in classes (running mock interviews, etc.).
We know your time is valuable, so instead of trying to explain everything here, we are providing a list of resources that you or interested people in your congregation can investigate, AND we are going to hold 2 informational meetings for those that want to learn more and have questions. Learn more by connecting to the video below.
The two Informational Meetings are:
- Thursday, October 20, 7:00pm at Lexington Park United Methodist Church
- Thursday, October 27, 7:00pm at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church
Thanks for being a partner in the Kingdom!
A Note From Gail Wathen: “I’d like to extend my sincerest and heartfelt thanks to all of those who assisted with W.A.R.M. this year. Your contributions of time, food service, prayer, donations, and friendship to our neighbors allowed for another successful year of hosting this much needed ministry. As we get back to our busy lives, I’d like to invite you to continue to remember those who are in need of basic necessities. It’s easy to forget when the faces of the homeless are no longer at our doorstep. I myself roll right back into my daily routines until this time next year when our week to host is upon us. This year will be different for me. I made a promise to myself and more importantly to God that I will not only remember but will actively seek ways with His guidance in which I can serve. T.J. Maday and I had many conversations with our guests which led to some eye opening discoveries. I’d like share some of those with you so that perhaps you can gain a better understanding of the challenges many face.
This is affordable housing. We had a lovely couple join us this year. This was their first experience being homeless. They were in their early fifties and had lived in a very nice condo. The wife had lost her job, and, while her husband still holds a good job outside of DC, they found that with their other expenses they could no longer afford rent. Searching for housing in this area has been a challenge for them. Working with a budget of $925/month they have found very few places. Those that are within their budget had a wait list. To get put on a wait list, one must submit a non-refundable application fee. This woman diligently spends her day placing job applications and looking for housing while her husband is at work. They were not the only ones this affected. We had others who worked but couldn’t afford housing.
The second thing I picked up on was lack of family support. I guess this really touched me as it was the 18, 19, 20 year olds that reminded me of my children. We had one individual who had gotten strep throat and was so very sick. He was 18 and his mom lived locally. While I don’t know the circumstances of his homelessness, it was hard for me to fathom not being there to support one of my children in a time of need. When I shared my heartbreak over this young man with someone they immediately said “well he must be on drugs or something for his mom to kick him out.” Perhaps…perhaps not, I don’t know. What I DO know is that in order to be a part of the WARM program each individual is initially screened by DSS and again screened each evening when they check into Three Oaks. That is why I could say he has not been a substance abuser while in the program and I don’t know that he ever was. Anyway, there were quite a few in the program who had family in the area. I am not judging as there are always two sides to every story. As a mom, however, it is difficult for me to imagine one of my children on the streets much less on the streets and sick.
I’m sure there are other stories. Many of you during your volunteer hours may have had some conversations that hit a nerve or pulled on a heart string. I just want you to know that lending your ear and listening means a lot. It’s just as important as a warm place to sleep and food for the stomach. So as we go back to our daily routines, I ask that you pray for our brothers and sisters and pray for me that God uses me for their good. If perhaps you feel moved to do more, contact me. Let’s begin a discussion that will lead to action.”
Good Sam is participating in the W.A.R.M program (Wrapping Arms aRound Many), a ministry supported by area churches where the homeless are housed and fed during harsh winter months. Good Samaritan is privileged to partner with other churches and community services. Our week is approaching–February 7-14–and many volunteers are needed to ensure the success of this ministry. We hope you will prayerfully consider providing assistance to the many in our community affected by homelessness.
For this one week we will house and feed about 20-25 adults. It takes a tremendous amount of volunteers ensure our guests have a positive experience at our facility. We’ll need volunteers to prepare and serve breakfasts and dinners, monitors to work evening shifts (both men and women), people for set up and breakdown of beds, wash linens, and much more. The various opportunities available are listed on sign-up sheets in the Fellowship Hall. Please take a look to see if there is a way in which God is calling you to serve.
If physically being here during that week is not possible for you, there are other ways you could participate. We will need donations of various items such as: cereal, coffee, creamer, sweeteners, sugar, hand soap, Lysol, and snacks. You could also agree to be a “Prayer Warrior” for our guests. There will be a prayer box made available for our guests to place requests. These requests are honored daily in prayer.
If you have never participated in this ministry and are interested, but have questions, please feel free to contact Gail Wathen, TJ Maday or Jason Van Camp. All will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to another successful season with W.A.R.M! Please join us!
Good Sam’s week to host WARM begins this Sunday, February 15! Learn more about WARM by clicking here. Below is a note from Gail W., Good Sam’s WARM Volunteer Coordinator:
Thanks so much for partnering with WARM. We have gotten almost all our slots filled but we still have a few needs. Please check the availability below and let me know when and if you can fill in. Please email WARM@goodsamlutheran.com.
- Please double-check and make sure you know your date and time to volunteer (especially monitors), as the overnight slots can be confusing.
- Remember that older children and teens are welcome to help as long as they are with an adult in all areas except for monitors. All monitors must be 18 and older.
- As I finalize the schedule, I will send out an email confirmation.
Your generosity with your time and resources is greatly appreciated! Please feel free to call me if you have any questions/concerns.
WARM Volunteer Coordinator
- Breakfast Wed Feb 18th
- Feb 16th 8pm-11pm FEMALE
- Feb 17th 2am-5am FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 17th 5am-8am MALE
- Feb 17th 11pm-2pm FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 18th 2am-5am FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 18th 5am-8am FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 18th 11pm-2am– FEMALE
- Feb 19th 2am-5am FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 19th 5am-8am MALE and FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 19 11pm-2am MALE and FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 21st 5am-8am MALE
- Feb 21st 11pm-2am MALE SLOT
- Feb 22 2am-5am MALE and FEMALE SLOT
- Feb 22 2am-5am MALE and FEMALE SLOT
The Empty Nest group will cook dinner for W.A.R.M. on Thursday, February 19. If you have “an empty nest” and would like to get to know our group and help prepare the meal, please contact Ginger L. Ginger has received funds from Thrivent Financial to cover the cost of the food and additional supplies. She has recipes ready to hand out for you to prepare. Join us for an evening of serving others.
Join us Sunday, January 25 at 10:30 am for some “coffee and conversation” about the WARM ministry. This is an opportunity to find out more about the ministry and the various opportunities to serve during Good Sam’s host week of February 15-22. We will have a conversation about the different volunteer positions and what they entail. (Click to read more about the WARM ministry.)
Even if you are not available to serve during the week, support is needed in other areas such as prayer, food and toiletry donations, and help with set-up and laundry. Please consider staying after church and finding out more about serving our homeless brothers and sisters. God calls us to serve the poor and homeless (Leviticus 25:35-36, Isaiah 58:7, Luke 14:13-14).
The WARM season began in November and our week to host will be here before you know it! WARM (Wrapping Arms aRound Many) is a ministry involving dozens of churches in the area. Churches host or assist a host site in housing the homeless in our community who have nowhere to go during the cold winter nights. Guests arrive at the host site around 5:30 pm, where they are provided a hot meal, a cot for the evening, and some time to freshen up, play games, read, etc. In the morning they are provided with breakfast prior to leaving for the day at 7 am.
Not only do we need volunteers to serve as monitors, we also need donations of food items and personal supplies. There will be a complete list of volunteer opportunities as well as suggested donation items listed on a bulletin board in the fellowship hall. If you would like more information on how to participate, look for the WARM bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall. Questions can be directed to Gail W., Good Sam’s WARM Coordinator.
For more information about WARM, please visit its Facebook page and see these news pieces from prior years:
- Volunteers help WARM winter nights for homeless in St. Mary’s (Jan. 31, 2014)
- Churches help warm homeless in St. Mary’s (Jan. 4, 2013)
- WARM gears up for third cold season in St. Mary’s (Sept. 16, 2011)
- St. Mary’s County churches band together to shelter homeless (Nov. 1, 2009 – The Washington Post)