Loving our neighbors by opening our doors
Connecting with our neighbors
Every week, Foundry opens its doors to our neighbors in need. Some need food, others clothing. Some need IDs, so they can get city services, secure an apartment, get a job, or enroll their children in day care or school. Some need referrals to emergency services. Others just need a safe, warm place to relax.
Our Friday Walk-In Mission provides all of those things. It is one way Foundry stretches to connect with our neighbors and to God.
I often see young mothers come here with their infants and toddlers. While they wait to see a volunteer about getting identification, the mothers and children enjoy sandwiches (prepared by our Sandwich 1000 ministry), a snack pack, coffee and hot chocolate.
These mothers often need birth certificates for their children (when new moms leave D.C. hospitals, they no longer leave with a birth certificate) and an ID for themselves. A Walk-In volunteer explains the process for getting an ID and gives the mother an instruction sheet explaining how and where she can get one. We issue her checks to cover the cost of getting the birth certificates and ID. We give her a SmartCard to help with the full-day of travel necessary to secure the documents.
That is usually enough, but not everyone is so lucky. Walk-In volunteers once helped one man who had been working for two years to get the documentation for his ID. We specialize in difficult cases. A pro bono attorney recently sent his client to Walk-In to sort out his complicated issues.
A group of Spanish-speakers regularly comes to Walk-In to relax. They sit together and drink hot chocolate after they enjoy their Sandwich 1000 sandwich. There are newspapers to read as another volunteer plays hymns on the piano.
Often, our friends will receive a new set of clothes from our clothes closet (which if you've noticed through the windows, looks like Nordstrom!). They pick the clothes themselves. Every week, they are welcome to a toiletry bag with new underwear, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. If our neighbors are looking for other services, they can check out the flyers directing them to whatever they might need, in both Spanish and English. If they need emergency services, our hospitality volunteer is available to try and find what they need.
The volunteers and the visitors get to know each other. We have fun together. We have thrown parties together for Valentine's Day and Halloween.
Foundry's key scripture (Mark 12:28-31) tells of a religious scholar who asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Jesus tells him, first love the Lord your God, and second love your neighbor as yourself. Through the Walk-In Mission, Foundry seeks to do exactly that. It is an opportunity to live out our faith. And it is a big reason why I am so happy to support Foundry with my time, my talent and my resources. I hope you, too, will support this church, and our efforts to love our neighbors, in the coming year.