CHGM’s 9th Annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service- Update

Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM) held our 9th Annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service on Sunday, November 18th, at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church.

The 9th Annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service celebrated CHGM’s 45th year of faithful partnership with the community. During our celebration of service, we recognized and spotlighted outstanding neighborhood volunteers and the causes they have championed through the gifts of their time, talent, voice, and expertise to help strengthen the Capitol Hill community.

This years’ service included the recognition of 18 outstanding volunteers, the Volunteer Taxpayer Clinic, and the 2nd Annual Ruth Rappaport Wisdom award honoree Durinda O’Brien.

Volunteer services ranged from the running of local food banks and meal programs to visiting sick and shut-in neighbors in our community. Nominated by their home congregations, each volunteer has made great strides in upholding CHGM’s motto to “Serve the Community, One Neighbor at a Time”.

CHGM proudly acknowledged the 40 years of faithful and dependable service that the Free Tax
Clinic has given to the Capitol Hill community. Founded by Rick Halberstein and Former CHGM Executive Director Rev. Ed Goode, the volunteer-led Tax Clinic brought an important service free of charge to neighbors who could not afford mainstream tax companies or simply needed
the extra care and attention of a friendly professional.

Finally, the Ruth Rappaport Wisdom award, which honors volunteers who have displayed remarkable warmth, wisdom, and commitment to the Capitol Hill Community, was awarded to Durinda O’Brien. When Durinda O’Brien joined CHGM’s Board of Directors in 2006, she immediately joined the Executive Committee and the team that led the search to hire our current Executive Director, Barfonce Baldwin.

As Board Treasurer, she was instrumental in putting “best practices” into place to get CHGM financially fit. She later took over as President, where her leadership and expertise led the organization to greater community recognition, including as a finalist for the 2011 “Hilly” award for outstanding non-profit.

Rindy finished her Board term at the end of 2011, but she still actively participates and consistently gives of her time. CHGM is just one of her many passions—she has been active in numerous non-profits and is a prolific writer and photographer. She has been an asset to CHGM, the Capitol Hill community, and a friend to all.

10th Annual “Hope for the Homeless Golf Tournament Results

Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM) is proud to announce that this year’s golf tournament was a smashing success raising just over $27,500 and hosting more than 75 golfers making it one of our largest and most successful tournaments to date.

CHGM’s annual charity raises necessary funds to assist homeless and underserved families in our Capitol Hill community. By sponsoring and golfing in the tournament, individuals and businesses help provide services for homeless families not just on September 24th but all year long.

Congratulations to this year’s “Hope for the Homeless” golf tournament winners Matt Emmel, Mike Connelly, Ken Johnson, and Frank Andracchi of Team Exelon Industrial Services who posted an impressive score of -10 at Bay Hills Golf Club!

CHGM would also like to offer a special Thank you to this year’s Platinum Sponsor National Capital Bank and all of our 2012 sponsors and golfers. Please take a look at our CHGM Facebook page to check-out some of the tournament pictures.

Thanks for supporting CHGM and we look forward to seeing you next year!

CHGM’s Annual Back-to-School BackPack Distribution Helps 278 Children

Each August, hundreds of children throughout our Capitol Hill community begin the school year unprepared due to their family’s financial difficulties. To assist with this need, Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM) hosted its Annual Back-To-School BackPack Distribution on August 18th, 2012.

This year, CHGM partnered with local schools, recreation centers, and churches to identify families in need. Thanks to the generous support of local organizations, churches, and individual donors, CHGM was able to supply 278 fully loaded backpacks to children in our community. That is a full 125 more backpacks than those provided in 2011!

Without the incredible support from both individuals and organizations such as St. Monica & St. James, Christ Church + Washington Parish, Emory Fellowship, Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, and Unity of Washington DC this year’s Backpack Event would not have been as large of a success. Thank You!

If you would like to see more pictures from the event please CLICK HERE to view the Facebook photo album.

CHGM’s May Family Night with Care Company & Friends

On May 21st, 2012, Care Company hosted Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s “Summer Fun Family Night” at Christ Our Shepard Church in Capitol Hill.

For years, CHGM has partnered with local congregations and organizations to help provide the families in our programs an opportunity to share a meal and an evening of fun and fellowship with their neighbors and friends.

While the events themselves are simplistic by design, their transformative properties and lasting impact on the families have made CHGM’s Family Nights an essential element in our work with homeless families in our community.

These unique and powerful community events allow CHGM to express our deep connection toward community and to all who live in it.

If you are interested in learning about how you can partner, volunteer, or make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Jacob Wilkins at 202-544-3150 or via email at


Volunteer Transformation with CHGM

One of my greatest joys in working with Capitol Hill Group Ministry has undoubtedly been watching the power of transformation our Street Outreach Program has on the way our volunteers think about our homeless neighbors on the street. The saying that people receive more than they give through volunteerism holds especially true for the special groups from across the United States that have spent an afternoon providing bottled water, sandwiches, blankets, and fellowship to the chronically homeless on the streets of Capitol Hill.

Each Sunday before our Street Outreach coordinator Dan Randazzo, or myself, leads our rag-tag groups of volunteers out to serve the community, we take a few moments to cover the basics of who CHGM is, our mission, what is street outreach, and what jobs they will be doing as Street Outreach Volunteers. We then open ourselves up to any questions the volunteers have and without doubt begin to dispel the innocent ignorance and prejudices the volunteers bring with them against the homeless. Most commonly questions focus on the safety of engaging with the homeless, and if they should be worried about catching any diseases, or robbed, or swindled, or worse! It is clear to me that while they feel called to help this marginalized population, they also truthfully believe that the homeless are individuals to be feared.

Where my greatest joy comes in though, is in watching those innocent ignorance and prejudices break down through the conversations and engagements between our volunteers and homeless neighbors. While the first interactions are awkward and hesitant, they lead to ones full of joy, friendship, and fellowship. In the matter of a few hours, our volunteers become truly transformed through the opportunity being provided for them to see that the homeless are people just like themselves who are in need of friendship, laughter, conversation, dignity, and respect. While we pride ourselves on our ability to distribute countless snacks, lunches, and bottles of water, I know that the fellowship provided to the homeless and the transformation in the volunteers are truly the most valuable aspect of our Street Outreach Volunteerism. I am proud to be a part of that transformation.

2011 Capitol Hill Group Ministry Thanks-GIVING Food Basket Results

Well it looks like Thanksgiving has come and gone and once again we did it! No I’m not referring to eating nearly our entire weight in turkey and stuffing or even that part about consuming our entire recommended daily caloric intake in sweet potato pie. Those are still hopefully our “little” secrets.

What I am referring to is that once again the Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM) with our Thanks-GIVING Food Basket sponsors and donors have succeeded helping provide more than 1,432 members of our Capitol Hill community with a wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal with all the trimmings.

This year CHGM received record demand in request from the community for thanksgiving food baskets. This increase totaled to just over 600 individuals over last year with the bulk of the increase coming from our senior citizens. Throughout the October and November months our Shirley’s Place office was full to the brim with neighbors in need submitting their requests, conducting needs assessment interviews, and checking on the status of their name on the waiting lists.

Thankfully, CHGM’s Congregational Partners, local Community Based Groups, and individual sponsors heard the communities call and were able to answer it. Longtime friends and partners such as Mothers on the Hill (MOTH), St. Monica & St. James, and Christ Church all made significant contributions to help CHGM meet this year’s demand.

Beyond the large groups that made contributions individual sponsorships significantly increased over previous years. Many of these individuals indicated that they had found out about the Food Basket Drive from the November issue of the Hill Rag and would like to help in any way they could. Volunteerism with this year’s distribution event significantly increased.

Shelah Wilcox, CHGM Special Events Manager, commented that “One of the best parts of our Thank-GIVING Food Basket Program is contacting each of the families and hearing how relieved and excited that there family would be able to have a Thanksgiving meal.” She added that “With the help of our partners, sponsors, and everyone who gave of their time, energy and finances, 1,432 were made able for families on Thanksgiving.”

Indeed the success of the 2011 Thanks-Giving Food Basket Program has given all of Capitol Hill something to be thankful for. So congratulations sponsors, donors, friends and Hill Rag readers for helping make this year’s food basket drive the best one to date… and the rest of our Thanksgiving celebration shame can remain our “little” secret.