WASHINGTON, D.C. – On May 18, 2013, the House of Mercy, a faith-based humanitarian nonprofit organization located in Manassas, Va., will join Unity Health Care, Inc., for a “Day of Mercy” at Unity’s Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) Health Center in the CCNV shelter, the largest homeless shelter in the nation’s capital.
About 350 to 500 homeless people will receive health screenings, podiatry services, hot food, new undergarments and shoes during this community event, said House of Mercy Executive Director Kellie Ross. Volunteers for the organization will also wash the feet of the homeless, she said.
“We began our ministry of washing the feet of the poor in the parks of Washington, D.C., and have seen firsthand the suffering that the homeless endure. That’s why we’re here to help,” Ross said. “We reach out to the homeless in the region, offering critically-needed material assistance. Going even further, our volunteers gently wash their feet as a symbolic gesture that they have not been forgotten and are loved by God. It is in our actions that we demonstrate our compassion for our neighbor.”
The House of Mercy plans to maintain its partnership with the CCNV and Unity Health Care, Inc. (Unity), D.C.’s ’s largest nonprofit health and social services organization, to make these events part of an ongoing community outreach program addressing the needs of the homeless in the nation’s capital, Ross said. The Day of Mercy community project will include an event every other month, with the House of Mercy distributing toiletries, shoes and other necessities at each event based on available resources. “We could not have done this without the help of our generous sponsors,” said Ross. “I think people understand that serving others can bring out the best in our community.”
“We cherish our partnership with House of Mercy and CCNV and are thankful for this partnership which provides us the opportunity to make Unity’s servant leadership model of care a very real concept for the members of our community who are in such desperate need,” stated Unity President and CEO Vincent A. Keane.
The largest provider of community health care in the D.C. area, Unity serves more than 101,000 people each year through a network of 28 health centers and a mobile medical outreach unit. Its CCNV Health Center is one of 10 medical sites Unity operates within homeless shelters in the city. “Unity’s homeless health centers provide life-giving support, ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of a particularly vulnerable population,” Keane stated.
The CCNV shelter, officially the Federal City Shelter, is one of the largest homeless shelters in the country. The building’s known as CCNV for its largest and longest-running tenant, CCNV’s shelter program.
The House of Mercy, founded in 2005 by the Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy, relies on donations to provide food, clothing and other items to those in need. The organization has a variety of community programs and events designed to help improve the quality of life of families, locally and abroad. Each November the agency holds a “Campaign to End Hunger” volunteer food-packing event, which provides meals to thousands of hungry children in the community and across the globe, Ross said. The House of Mercy has a Christmas program every December that offers free donated toys to its low-income clients, and the agency also provides free educational classes, she added.