Central Union Mission

Professor Introduces
Students to Service

Dr. Richard Semmler
Dr. Richard Semmler, left, helps serve the evening meal nearly every Monday night.

Pathway students
NVCC students get a taste for helping others by volunteering at the Mission.

When Richard Semmler offered to help his older neighbor Miss Emily Amor get to one of her commitments, he didn’t know that sixteen years later, he, too, would be a faithful volunteer at Central Union Mission. “She invited me to come help serve Christmas dinner in 1997, and that got me hooked.” He began coming in to help on his own, settling into an every Monday night schedule he continues to this day.

Dr. Semmler, a professor of mathematics at Northern Virginia Community College—Annandale Campus (NVCC), comes in the late afternoon to help chop vegetables or cut the cakes for dessert  then helps serve the Mission’s guests and students a nutritious meal. He doesn’t come alone, either; over the last few years he has brought along hundreds of NVCC students to help.

“I really encourage people to get involved by supporting a local and an international charity. This gives my students a new perspective. They are excited about their volunteering and find it worthwhile. Some tell me they want to come back again.”

In addition to Central Union Mission, Dr. Semmler supports the College Pathways Initiative with scholarships for several first-generation college students. Often Pathways students join him on his Monday efforts. In addition to the dinner service, the students like to check in with Spiritual Transformation Program students to hear about their progress.  “The comments about working at the Mission are always positive. The word is out about what kind of experience this is.”

What’s his best advice for volunteering? “Spend an afternoon or evening at the Mission and serve a meal. Your help has a huge impact on the guests and also on your perspective. It’s a privilege to meet peoples’ needs and to see what goes on there. Often the men who ask for seconds are eating their only meal that day.”

Besides his volunteer time, Dr. Semmler is a faithful financial contributor, donating over $100,000 to Central Union Mission over the last 16 years. We are so grateful that he is sharing his time and money with the Mission, as well as introducing young people to a life of philanthropy.

“Shop” Our Christmas Catalog

Christmas Catalog

Would you like to show your friends how much you care about them this Christmas? Honor them with a gift “purchased” from Central Union Mission’s online Christmas catalog. Visit missiondc.org/shop to see descriptions of items and services our poor neighbors need. The gifts you select will both make your friends proud and help a homeless person survive the winter.

The Cupboard is Bare

Thanksgiving makes us think of abundant cornucopias overflowing with seasonal bounty. For many of us, that’s just what our Thanksgiving celebrations are like. For the city’s hungry and homeless people, however, Thanksgiving is merely a sign that colder weather is coming.

FPC couple
Without a car, this couple rides three buses to get to the Food PLUS Center.

The Mission’s Food PLUS Center is very busy at this time of year. The slower summer is over, and more clients than ever are coming by. Sadly, this year we have even less food to serve the increasing need.

We are getting fewer food donations from organizations that can no longer afford to make them. Also, the economy has influenced companies to tighten their quality control, making the overages we depended on even scarcer and not likely to return. Necessary food that we used to receive for free we must now purchase food from the local food bank, so the protein our clients need—like meat, eggs and cheese—is in short supply.

Most of the people that come to the Food PLUS Center are elderly, disabled or in families with underemployed parents and are familiar with what a sudden job loss or ill loved one can do to family finances. One woman came in October to find “new” furniture after her home burned down. Many are on fixed incomes, and their government support doesn’t go very far.

You can help right now. A financial contribution will enable us to purchase food wholesale from the food bank. You can also run a Food Drive at your office or school and donate food directly to our Food PLUS Center (3182-B Bladensburg Rd, NE) or the shelter at the Gales School (65 Massachusetts Ave, NW). Meat, fruit, vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce, soup and eggs are most needed at this time. Thanks so much for your generosity.

The Gittens Family
Underemployed parents like Humberto and Epiphany Gittens rely on Food PLUS donations to make ends meet.

David O. Treadwell

From the Executive Director
Time for Showing Thanks

Not only do we give thanks in November, it’s also a good time for Thanks-“showing”—making our thanks evident through our actions. We live in a very fortunate city. When we share our gifts with people in need, we are showing God our gratefulness to Him. But how exactly can we do that? 

You can share a financial contribution or purchase some food to help the hundreds coming to our doors. Other ways to show thankfulness have no cost. We rely on your faithful prayers for God’s continued supply and for progress for our students and guests. You can volunteer at the Mission and also tell your friends about why you care about the city’s hungry and hopeless people. Your story will encourage others to share their Thanksgiving as well!

Thank you so much for your commitment to serving our needy neighbors, as our Lord commands. Because you show Him your thankfulness, others are fed, healed, reconciled and saved. As Proverbs 19:17 reminds us, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.” May you and your family enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving.



Celebrating 130 Years of Service

Since 1884, Central Union Mission has been helping homeless and poor people in Washington, DC. We gathered in early October to celebrate the Mission’s efforts at an Anniversary Gala held at the Fairview Park Marriot in Falls Church, VA. Guests heard from Capital Area Food Bank President Nancy Roman, as well as DC Senator Michael Brown, Pastor Darrel Fiddermon, David Hazelton, Esq., and Music Minister Stephen Hurd.

Gala 2014 photo
Gala guests Larry Medley, Katie Lundstrom and Melissa Medley

Nearly 600 guests gathered to congratulate the Mission on its 130 years in Washington, DC, adapting as necessary to provide for the changing needs in our area; you can view photos of the event on our Facebook page, “Central Union Mission, DC. Our work would not be possible without the compassion of private donors, businesses, churches and other concerned groups supporting our efforts.

Kid-to-Kid Christmas
Children reaching children in need in Washington, DC

Kid to Kid Christmas

Children love Christmas, but we know it’s easy for them to concentrate on “getting” rather than “giving.” Our Kid-to-Kid program is a way to help teach your children or grandchildren about generosity. Kid-to-Kid enables you to discuss the importance of giving while you shop together for a needy child who is a part of our Operation Christmas Miracle. Visit missiondc.org/christmas for details.

Join Us!

Executive Dinner and Luncheon
November 18, 2014—6:30 pm
December 5, 2014—11:30 am

Come enjoy a delicious meal and a tour of the shelter and meet some men involved in the Mission’s STP and work programs. You can rsvp at missiondc.org/dinners.

Turkey Bowl
November 15, 2014
7:11 pm

Join Mission staff and supporters at Bowl America (Falls Church, VA) who are bowling to help provide turkey meals for those in need. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit facebook.com/events/

Christmas Caroling on the Hill
December 6, 2014
6:30 pm

Join us as we start at the Gales School spreading holiday cheer on Capital Hill. You can rsvp here: missiondc.org/caroling/

To register for volunteer opportunities, please go online at missiondc.org/volunteer.

This May Be It
This may be the Thanksgiving that changes his life forever.

After being on the cold streets, a delicious turkey dinner served by loving neighbors will warm his heart. It may even draw him close to the Savior who loves him and enable him to start making the changes that will bring a productive life.

You can make that difference for him. Your generous gifts enable us to feed, shelter and encourage homeless men and hungry families, children and seniors. We are so grateful for your compassion.

Our Mission
To glorify God through proclaiming and teaching the Gospel, leading people to Christ, developing disciples, and serving the needs of hurting people throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

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CENTRAL UNION MISSION | 202-745-7118 | www.missiondc.org