St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Saturday, February 13, 2016
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Local outreach and mission

St. Stephen's invests leadership, volunteer time and financial resources in a number of organizations in the metropolitan Richmond area, providing a broad array of services. Our principal commitment is to the East End of Richmond, particularly its children and elderly, as demonstrated through our involvement in Fairfield Court Elementary School, Peter Paul Development Center and Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School. In addition, we are beginning to work with Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries to discern how we can provide support to refugees during the worldwide refugee crisis.
In September, members of St. Stephen's donated furnishings for a family who recently arrived in Richmond from Iraq. We were put in touch with the Al Diraji family by Church World Service. Many thanks to all who provided these items. Here are a few photos of the delivery:
Clockwise from top left: Donald Clements (left), Firas (center, the AlDaraji family's caseworker) and Karen Wise unload furniture for the family. Karen and Mrs. AlDaraji chat about their children. Firas (also from Iraq) snapped this photo of Karen, Mrs. AlDaraji, Steve Simon, Donald, and Deb Lawrence. Donald, Firaj and Steve clear out the truck.
To learn more about any of the following local outreach efforts, please contact 
A brief story about one of our volunteers:


Feeding the hungry
Serving children
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring (see an example here)
  • Lunch Buddies
  • After-school enrichment, Saturday academies, summer enrichment
  • Participation in Career Day, Field Day
Serving families
  • Thanksgiving baskets
  • Angel Tree (Christmas gifts)
  • Easter activities
  • Hospitality and assistance for the homeless

Ministering to the sick

  • Medical mission for the working poor
  • Gathering supplies for McGuire Veterans Hospital and for addiction centers
Examples of opportunities with community partners
  • CrossOver Clinic Neighborhood Mission Trip: A half-day local “trip” needing medical professionals and Spanish translators.
  • CARITAS  (Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter): A variety of hosting and food preparation duties are available during the week that we welcome homeless people to St. Stephen’s for shelter.
  • The Backpack Snacks Program of the Central Virginia Foodbank. 
Ongoing volunteer opportunities
HANDS Ministry: Hammers and Nails in Devoted Service builds on our experience with the annual Rebuilding Together of Richmond day. Participants complete a few light construction projects throughout the year. In addition to our neighbors in the East End, recipients of these efforts might include some of our own elderly or homebound parishioners who need a few things done in their homes. Please contact Deb Lawrence if you would like to participate.
Community Garden: Last year, parishioner Dan Lette generously provided land on which St. Stephen’s planted a vegetable garden to serve clients of our food pantry. We are grateful to be able to to supplement our shelf-stable foods with fresh produce. Would you like to work in the garden with other St. Stephen’s volunteers? Please contact Deb Lawrence in the parish office.
After-school program
Peter Paul Development Center has an after-school program at Fairfield Elementary School (both are among our outreach partners) and volunteers are needed! Volunteer opportunities include classroom assistant, homework assistant, mentor, and room “parents.”
Special annual events


St. Stephen’s annually hosts a number of homeless people in our parish house, providing hospitality, meals and a warm, dry, safe place to sleep, in partnership with CARITAS, Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter. This ministry usually takes place in the fall. Volunteers help with various tasks, such as preparing dinners and bag lunches (all food provided), spending the night at church (CARITAS staff will be here too), and helping unload and load cots on both Saturday mornings.
Turkey Box drive
Each year, members of St. Stephen’s provide turkeys and food staples to families from our East End partners, allowing them to partake of the kind of festive holiday meal that we take for granted, but which might be out of their reach if not for our assistance. Many parishioners like to decorate a box in which to place the items they purchase for these families, as well. Instructions for participating in this ministry, which takes place in November, are available here

A one-day helpfest
Project Homeless Connect is a one-day, one-stop event that connects individuals experiencing homelessness with on-site medical care and a variety of social services. It is held at the Richmond Convention Center in the fall. More than 300 volunteers are needed to staff this event.