Phoenix Rising is a ministry that was started in response to the needs of the many homeless and near homeless living along the Route One corridor in Alexandria from the Beltway to the Fairfax County Parkway (just south of Fort Belvoir). Since then, the ministry has been coordinated and expanded by many faithful members of various churches throughout Alexandria and Fairfax County. St. Stephen’s participates in this ministry on the 5th Fridays of the months when they occur. Contact Melissa Dutcher if you have any questions.
How Does the Program Work?
Each Phoenix Rising team is responsible for meal packaging and delivery on one particular Friday of each month. On the Thursday night before the church’s scheduled Friday delivery, 75 to 100 volunteers gather at their particular church to make a total of 400 bagged meals — 200 for Friday night and 200 for Saturday.
Then, on Friday night at 6 PM throughout the year, rain or shine, assigned teams from local churches and organizations set out with the sandwiches and pre-packed food items to make deliveries along the Route One corridor.
What’s in the Bagged Meals?
Friday night bags are made up of the following items: one sandwich, chips, fruit, cookies, and Capri sun. Saturday meals receive the following items: a tuna or chicken salad kit, peanut butter crackers, fruit snack, and Capri sun.
Who Receives the Meals?
The nutritious, bagged meals are delivered to those who are homeless and living in tents, vehicles, motels, and short-term lodging. Meals are designed to provide nourishment to those who may not otherwise have something to eat over the weekend, filling their stomachs and touching their hearts. Approximately 100 meals are delivered to children and another 100 meals to veterans.
Who Makes the Meals?
All ages can help in this ministry! There is a job for everyone — from the 3 year-old who drops a bag of potato chips into the meal or a teenager who writes a note of encouragement. For very young children who come out to volunteer and then loose focus, we do offer child care in the nursery so the rest of the family can still volunteer for the full hour!
Like Stop Hunger Now, our hope is that children and families from SSUMC will invite friends and neighbors to participate as well. As a church, we believe helping our neighbors is important and we want to be the destination where children, teens, and families can come to serve alongside one another.
How Can I Help?
There are a variety of jobs that children and families can participate in together such as: shopping for supplies, preparing sandwiches, assembling bag lunches, writing personal messages of encouragement and faith to place in the bags, and assisting with delivery. The church also receives donations of food and hygiene items to supplement what is given out through the bagged meal delivery.