Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category

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The following is a guest post written by Dawn Bickett.  

On Saturday, February 9th, 20 volunteers kicked off the DC Ecowomen Strong Women Season —focusing on supporting women in our community— by spending the afternoon working at Rachael’s Women’s Center, a day shelter for homeless women in Washington, DC.  With plenty of hands and lots of enthusiasm, we made short work of the tasks left to us, leaving us time to learn from the staff about the role of the Center in meeting the needs of women experiencing homelessness in the city.

As Rachael’s Women’s Center Outreach Worker Matthew Lang explained, the organization is one of only a couple of day shelters in DC. Night shelters typically close early in the morning, making places like Rachael’s Women’s Center the only viable option for many women looking for a safe and productive space to be during the day. Rachael’s Women’s Center fills a critical niche by providing somewhere for women to go to get a hot meal, receive guidance for finding employment or government assistance, and even to attend poetry and Zumba classes.

The Center requires considerable upkeep because it feeds and serves over 40 women on a typical weekday, and it was our job as volunteers to tidy up. Wielding eco-friendly cleaning products, brooms, and mops, we cleaned everything from bathrooms to banisters. Volunteers also reorganized the Center’s library and sorted through bags of donations to make supplies accessible. By giving time and energy to Rachael’s Women’s Center, volunteers contributed to the Center’s work assisting hundreds of women each year.

While volunteers should take pride in the results of all that scrubbing and rearranging, the Center is always in need of more help. If you are interested in getting involved with Rachael’s Women’s Center, please go to their webpage. The organization also has a wish list posted of donations that are in high demand.

Check out more pictures of the event by clicking this here, and don’t forget to join in at the next DC Ecowomen volunteer event!

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Blog post by Lina Khan

On Sunday, November 6, DC EcoWomen learned what a community farm can bring (and, for some of us, where they could find one!).  DC EcoWomen volunteered for an afternoon at The Farm at Walker Jones, an urban farm that is part of the campus of Walker Jones, a DC Public School.  The Farm provides its food to the school, DC Central Kitchen, and other organizations, or sells it at a farm stand to raise money for supplies.  According to Sarah Bernardi, the Farm Coordinator, they stick to natural forms of insect repellant such as corn starch — and rely on volunteers like us to help keep up the herbs, vegetable, and fruit gardens.  We soaked in amazing autumn weather that I considered ourselves lucky to get after a couple of weeks of rain.

Almost 20 DC EcoWomen members and friends joined us, some looking to catch rare outdoor time, others to meet like-minded residents of DC, or both.  While we dug our trowels into the earth to uproot weeds and cleared debris around the herb garden, a variety of conversation flowed — being on the job hunt, good spare-time reading, running routines (which I don’t know a thing about), and inspirational speakers.  That last topic was tied to potential new speakers for the EcoWomen speaker series.  More than a few EcoWomen expressed a sense of gratitude from getting to help out the Farm and be outdoors for the day —  so in a way, this Farm gave back to us.  When we had finished our work and eaten lunch, we listened to Ms. Bernardi tell us how the Farm got started, and we asked a bunch of questions ourselves.

This Farm is an idea that is continuously growing.  It was once a deserted vacant lot, then several crops that continued to expand, and now a farm with its own beehives!  The question of how to make it an asset for the community and for the kids nearby continues to direct its mission.  We were excited to be a part of it.