Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (SMGW) is holding an all-inclusive COVID-19 drive from now until September 30. It is collecting many things people in need can use now, from face masks and grocery gift cards to toiletries and toilet paper. SMGW has a comprehensive list of needed items on its website.

You may donate items that you order on Items you have or order can be brought/mail to SMGW’s NW D.C. office at 1516 Hamilton Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20011, 202-722-2280, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

As one of the founding member churches of SMGW in 1986, St. Stephen and the Incarnation (which started the Loaves and Fishes program) has been and continues to be committed to the mission of empowering its neighbors. The coronavirus crisis has disproportionately impacted our vulnerable neighbors. Responding through this campaign, called The Empower Our Neighbors in Need Campaign, is a way to help.

Loaves and Fishes recently gave a donation of $6,500 to Sanctuary DMV’s Food Justice Initiative for the purchase of food cards to give to families that are hungry. Loaves and Fishes received a thank you by email that reads, in part:

Thank you for your incredibly generous donation of $6,500 in grocery gift cards to Sanctuary DMV’s Food Justice. We are so grateful for Loaves and Fishes’ willingness to share its own resources to stand in solidarity with Black and Brown immigrant families during this time. 

The impact of your gift goes far beyond just the gift cards. Because of the size of your donation, two grocery stores, Megamart and HMart, agreed to collectively donate an extra $700 in gift cards. Both of these stores are immigrant-owned, which means your gift supports the community twice: once through the gift cards, and again by investing in a company whose owners come from the community they serve. 

In total, your gift resulted in $7,200 in groceries for 71 families with 385 adults and children. Last Saturday, families from Falls Church to Herndon to Hyattsville received a delivery of gift cards, a bag of produce from DC Central Kitchen, and a box of dairy products donated by partners at the ADAMS Center Mosque – enough to last over two weeks. 

Here are some of the messages we received from families that day:

Si tenga por seguro que nos ayuda muchísimo gracias muchas gracias y adiós y ustedes de buen corazón dios les bendiga
Rest assured that this helps us so much, thank you, thank you very much, goodbye and God bless you all of good hearts.

Muchísimas gracias dios les bendiga y proteja en todo momento
Thank you so much, may God bless you and protect you in every moment.

As you may know, Sanctuary DMV Food Justice works out of St. Stephen’s on Saturdays, so we often connect with Loaves and Fishes staff and volunteers and share extra food back and forth. In a difficult time, it gives us hope to be working with you and other organizations that have such a generous spirit and deep commitment to ensuring that all of our neighbors have access to food. Thank you for your continued partnership. 

On Sept. 2, the New York Times Magazine published a photo essay of hunger and food insecurity in the United States. The introduction reads:

A shadow of hunger looms over the United States. In the pandemic economy, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat. The lockdown, with its epic lines at food banks, has revealed what was hidden in plain sight: that the struggle to make food last long enough, and to get food that’s healthful — what experts call ‘food insecurity’ — is a persistent one for millions of Americans.

View the photo essay.

In a new Pew Research Center survey, released August 7, 18% of U.S. adults said they had volunteered or made a donation through a religious organization during the COVID-19 pandemic. About three in 10 (29%) said they had volunteered or made a donation through a nonreligious organization.

About four in 10 adults (39%) reported they have helped a friend or neighbor by delivering groceries, running errands or helping with childcare, according to Pew.

Broken out by religious affiliation, Black Protestants (48%) and Hispanic Catholics (43%) were most likely to support someone directly. Jews (45%) and agnostics (41%) were most likely to support a nonreligious organization, and evangelical (32%) and Black (31%) Protestants were most likely to support a religious organization, according to survey data.

By comparison, fewer U.S. adults say they have asked for help from others during the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly one in five (17%) say they have turned to family or friends for help with bills, housing or food. About one in ten say they have asked for help with bills, housing or food from a nonreligious charitable organization. And 6% report that they have sought help from a religious organization.

Loaves and Fishes is seeking volunteers for a food pantry in the downstairs dining room in the church. Currently, the Table Church manages a food pantry that occurs every first and third Saturday in the dining room. In an effort to make every Saturday a food pantry day, Loaves and Fishes is seeking volunteers to set up and monitor the food pantry on second, fourth and fifth Saturdays, for three hours, from roughly 7:00am to 10:00am. If you are interested, please contact Nigel Collie at