When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."
John 21:15-17 ESV
This scripture lovingly illustrates the service that several of us provide on a monthly basis at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. On the fourth Wednesday evening at 6:45-7:15, we arrive to provide childcare for the families residing at the center. When we first started going, we arrived with projects and programs to fill the time. Well, we quickly learned that was not what was needed. These children ages 1 through age 11 just needed our undivided attention, a snack and genuine love and care. Volunteering on those Wednesday is all about relationships not program. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, "And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." We demonstrate love and genuine interest in the parents as they drop off their kids. We tend these little sheep by talking, reading, holding and playing with them. And finally we do feed them by providing a nutritious snack.
Each time we arrive, we are greeted by rambunctious kids and often world weary parents. The days are long and difficult and often discouraging for the families. So, we are there to provide a respite. In January, there wasn’t a meeting but we held childcare anyway. Several moms dropped off their kids with a big thank you and whispered, I am going to take a shower and have a few minutes to myself. What a simple gift.
Our team of volunteers could use a least 3 members. As schedules and responsibilities change over the course of a year, we have schedules to juggle. The time required is usually one time per month, the 4th Wednesday of the month, beginning at 6:45-8:15. We have a rotating schedule so that no one needs to go each month, only if you want. There are two requirements for volunteering: 1. You must have completed the Diocesan required Child Protection Training and/or re-training and 2. You need to be VERY flexible. No month has been the same as the previous. We always leave better than when we arrived because the children bring joy, laughter and life, and serving the Lord through these little ones brings us more into His presence. The Katherine Hanley Shelter is located at 12970 Katherine Hanley Ct, Fairfax, VA 22030, off Rt. 29 about 1 mile west of Costco.
If you would like to consider volunteering or know more, please contact Kristin Colligan.