From its beginning days, St. James Parish has been a caring community, people helping people, and that caring has continued to grow as the parish continues to grow.
The Social Outreach Committee provides opportunities for parishioners to put into action the Corporal Works of Mercy. Various activities allow you to give either one hour of your time or several days on a periodic basis.
- Volunteer (Food Distribution-First Fridays, Christ House Ministry, Falls Church Children’s Center, & Falls Church Homeless Shelter)
- Christmas Community Outreach (Adopt A Family, Gift Card Collection, calendars/note cards for women prisoners)
- Focus on Hunger (Christ House, Food for Others)
Our monthly, Friday evening Food Distribution serves needy families from 5:30-6:30pm, usually on the first Friday of the month. As part of this ministry, we also try to include a Christmas family celebration of the Nativity in December. Our coordinators, other adults, high school and supervised middle school students help set up, sort, pack and carry food and clean-up. We are typically in need of fluent Spanish-speaking individuals to help us with registration during each food distribution. Ideally, our Spanish speakers are also fluent in English. Currently, we have a need for an alternate driver with a large vehicle to pick up groceries from Safeway just prior to distribution. For more information on the Food Distribution program, please contact Amy Steinbicker at [email protected]. See the list of preferred food donations as of fall 2021 below.
The coordinators of Food Distribution are grateful for its founders: Janet Qualters (July 23, 1941 – September 22, 2020) and Gay Fantozzi (September 21, 1951 – January 25, 2021) for their work to develop and expand this ministry and inspire us to continue their work today.
Christ House Ministry
As part of the diocesan ministry that provides temporary housing to the homeless and a free evening meal to those in need, St. James provides and serves a complete dinner to men, women and children on the second Wednesday of each month at Christ House in Alexandria. Volunteers are needed to cook and /or serve. This is an opportunity for parish groups to directly participate in serving those in need. Individuals are also welcome. Contact:
Liz Goodson, 703-532-8407.
Falls Church Homeless Shelter
St. James parishioners provide support for the winter emergency shelter. In addition to monetary support parishioners donate food, paper supplies and meals and also work a six-hour shift as monitors. Members of St. James serve on the Shelter Board. The Shelter is open from November 15 through March 31. We are in particular need of a) volunteers to prepare meals for 14 individuals on a periodic basis; b) individuals to donate paper supplies and food for the pantry. For more information on how you can help, contact Ron Brousseau at 703-963-0501 or Barbara Hannigan at 703-599-5541. For more information on the Falls Church Homeless Shelter.
Falls Church Children’s Center
Parishioners contribute to the needs of the children at a local day care center through an annual collection. Children at the day care are from needy families. Contact: Pat Sober, 703-573-3432 or Lori Lisiecki, 703-532-5357.
Annually, St. James has a food and monetary collection in support of The Falls Church Community Service Council, Inc. (FCS). FCS established in 1969, is a coalition of churches and human service organizations in the greater Falls Church area. St. James Parish is a founding member.
The purpose of the FCS organization is to provide needed human services to poor and disadvantaged individuals and families in the Falls Church community. The assistance primarily is for short term and emergency needs with the overall mission of helping individuals and families achieve self sufficiency, an improved quality of life and avoid homelessness.
Lent Community Outreach
Lenten Gift Cards to Support Catholic Charities Afghan Refugee Families
The Catholic Charities Refugee Services office reports that there is a big need for gift cards to support transportation since families cannot afford cars. Transportation is needed for job interviews, medical appointments, and weekly grocery shopping.
Please donate $25 cards for transportation or Walmart for Lent 2022:
· UBER cards-purchased at Target or Best Buy
· Metro Smart Cards for use on subway and buses-purchased at Metro Stations
· Walmart cards are also welcomed to help with groceries and household goods
If paying by check, make it payable to St. James Catholic Church. On the memo line write “SOC Refugees.” Envelopes with cards or checks should be addressed to Social Outreach Committee St. James Church and may be dropped off at the rectory, placed in collection baskets, or mailed to the rectory at 905 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA 22046.
Christmas Community Outreach
Parishioners can provide much needed holiday cheer by sponsoring a specified family and ensuring they have gifts and a holiday meal for Christmas. Many of these families were previously homeless and need to conserve their income for rent, food, and other necessities. Names of families in need are provided by social service agencies and by parish network. Contact: Mary Ann Parker, 703-241-9128.
Seven Corners Children’s Center Christmas Drive
The center is a private, non-profit organization that partners with Fairfax County to provide childcare and pre-school for working families who require financial assistance. The children range in age from 2 to 5. We are asking for clothing in sizes 3T, 4T, 5T, 5, and 6/7 including:
- Shirts and pants
- Gloves, Hats and Scarves
- Winter Jackets
- Books, games and puzzles for ages 2 to 5
New this year: The Center has also asked for winter jackets and other clothing items in sizes 8 to 12 to allow parents to choose presents for older siblings. Items should be new and not wrapped. Please drop off donations in the bins in the back of the Church by December 12th. Call or text Caroline Sparks, 703-862-2074, for more information.
Calendars and Note Cards
The Social Outreach Committee collects donated calendars, for the upcoming new year, in all sizes for the Kairo Project for Women Prisoners and for families enrolled in Food Distribution. Note cards are also needed by prisoners. No calendars with spiral metal binding or note cards with glitter please.
Drop off the calendars in the food collection baskets at the Church entrances or box in the rectory office before Thanksgiving. Contact Angela Dinkle, [email protected], with any questions.
Focus on Hunger
Food for Others
During Lent, food collected at the doors of the Church is given to two food banks in the Falls Church area. One of these is Food for Others, located on Gallows Road. Food for Others provides food to charitable organizations to restock their food pantries; it provides food for families referred by churches, the county and other organizations; and it also runs a daily food distribution outreach program to the community. Volunteers are needed for numerous activities including collecting food from local stores, sorting and packing food at the food bank or delivering food to local families. If you are home during the day and are looking for a volunteer activity, call Food for Others at 703-207-9173. Teenagers are also welcome to volunteer after school or during summer vacation.
On the second Wednesday of each month, a distinct volunteer group from St. James prepares and/or serves a dinner at Christ House, the Diocesan soup kitchen in Alexandria. This is a unique hands-on-experience to directly help those in need. It is an opportunity for families with middle school through high school students to work together. This is also a great project for Scouts. If you would like to help with this parish effort, either in donating food or desserts, cooking the meal at Christ House and/or serving the meal at Christ House, please contact Liz Goodson at 703-532-8407. We are in need of volunteer groups or individuals.
Non-perishable foods may be left at the doors of the Church before weekend Masses throughout Lent. This food will help restock Food for Others and the Falls Church Community Service Council (FCS) Food Banks as well as contribute towards our own food distribution.
Falls Church Community Service Council
St. James is a founding member of the Falls Church Community Service Council (FCS). FCS maintains a food pantry at Knox Presbyterian Church which provides non-perishable and fresh food to families in need. Volunteer staff at the food pantry deliver food to families six days a week – Monday through Saturday. Food donations come from member congregations, individuals and local food drives. Additional critical food is purchased when needed as funds are available. Volunteers bag and deliver a week’s supply of food to needy clients. Food collected during Lent will be delivered to FCS in addition to Food for Others. If you would like to volunteer with FCS either in their food bank or in delivering food to those in need call 703-237-2562.