Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington

Matthew 25 Student Service Projects


For information, a class visit, or to design a special project ,

 please contact Sally O’Dwyer, or 703/841-3838


Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington is the arm of the Catholic Church charged with serving those in need.  We provide a number of services to the community, including Immigrant Services, Prison Ministry, Shelter for the Homeless, a Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, Crisis Pregnancy Support, Adoption Services, Elderly Services, Emergency Financial Assistance, Parish Social Ministry, Counseling, and much more.


An important part of our mission is to reach out to the community and invite those living in the Diocese to share in our service to the vulnerable, the poor and the lonely.  This is where you, as a student, come in.


We hope you will consider starting a service project, either as an individual or with your classmates!  It’s important for all students to participate in acts of charity.  Either as an individual or with a group of friends, Catholic Charities can design a Service Project suited to your interests, time available, and location.  Here are a few ideas:


Adopt a Family!

Your group can adopt a family in need.  We will select a family for you to get to know.  You or your group can write letters of support, send care packages, and pray for the family.  We will ask the adopted family to pray for you as well.


Ministry for Prisoners

Sister Connie will visit your classroom and talk with students about the life of prisoners and how all people are children of God.  Students can collect holiday cards and postage stamps to distribute to inmates, and perhaps write cards and letters to inmates under Sister’s supervision.  Students can also collect bibles for prisoners.


Adopt a Senior!

You and your group can adopt a lonely senior, write cards and send care packages. You can sign up as intergenerational buddies to call and check up on seniors who like to chat on the phone.  You can take a field trip to the Saint Martin dePorres Senior Center, put on a talent show, meet with the seniors, bake cookies to share.  Perhaps you and your group could sing for the seniors, or put on a play?  You and your group could collect toiletries, canned goods, or other small (dollar store) items as bingo prizes for our seniors, all of whom are low-income and often have a hard time scraping together enough money each month for food and incidentals.  You could make decorations to brighten up the Senior Center or plan a party for them.


Feed the Hungry

Our Food Pantry, located at Christ House, feeds people all across the diocese.  This is where the 12,000+ cans of O’Connell’s Chunky Soup went.  THANK YOU! J  We have a van, known as “Christ House on Wheels,” which delivers food to those in need in rural parts of our diocese, as well as in the local area.  As a result, we are in great need of non-perishable food. Would you be interested in conducting a canned food drive?  Students could collect food in their neighborhoods to stock the food pantry.  At the same time, they could learn about nutrition and the plight of the hungry among us.  Often, students think that the only people who are hungry reside in some far-off land.


Recyclers for Christ

You could learn about the importance of recycling/reusing, and collect items for our Thrift Shop at Christ House.  The Thrift Shop offers goods for low-income families and individuals.  We are always looking for quality items.  The Thrift Shop is rather small, so we limit our items to gently worn clothing, small household items, and knick-knacks.


Gifts for Baby Jesus

A great way to celebrate life would be to conduct a diaper and baby needs drive to replenish the baby needs closet at Children’s Services offices in Burke and Fredericksburg.  These supplies are provided to low-income mothers.


Welcome the Stranger

Welcome the Stranger by helping the Hogar Hispano (immigration) staff with outreach.  You, and your classmates could deliver flyers that provide information about our English as a Second Language classes and Naturalization workshops to local businesses, churches, and other locations. The best time for outreach is Saturday mornings, when many people are walking about.


Special Events

There are several special events held annually that classes could participate in: The Walk for Life is held early each May, and the Help the Homeless Walkathon, organized by Fannie Mae, is held in November – this year on Saturday, November 17th.


The Bunny Project

Celebrate the Resurrection by providing Easter Baskets for children in need.  Students bring in baskets and candy.  Classes enjoy making up baskets.  These baskets will be distributed by Catholic Charities to children who might not otherwise receive an Easter basket.


School Supplies Collection

You could collect school supplies including backpacks for other school children in need.  Most helpful if collected in May to be ready for the new school year.


Help the Homeless

Conduct a coat or hats and gloves drive.  Those who are homeless also really appreciate new warm socks.  Items will be distributed to homeless individuals and families from our shelter.  Toiletries also needed and appreciated.

Check out our website for detailed information on our programs and locations.