With homelessness in Washington, D.C. increasing 34 percent from 2015 to 2016, Martha’s Table, a non-profit organization that assists the impoverished population, is seeking volunteers to help fight poverty in the District of Columbia.
Martha's Table helps low-income and homeless individuals and families by providing food, clothing, and educational services.
The organization assists individuals through several programs. One of its most popular programs is Martha’s Outfitters, a store that provides free or low-cost clothing.
Patricia Riddick, who manages Martha’s Outfitters, expressed how much volunteers contribute to the program’s everyday operation. In 2016, approximately 18,000 volunteers served at the organization’s locations in both Northwest and Southeast Washington, D.C.
“Volunteers play a huge role because our staff is limited,” she said. “We depend on volunteers to help us unload the donations and help us get the donations out on the floor.”
For some people, volunteering is an occasional philanthropic task. However, there are also some people who dedicate their lives to serving the community.
Marie Breslin is a retired telecommunications worker who volunteers at Martha’s Table four days a week. She attributes her dedication to her love for the organization. “I believe in the mission, and I am committed to do whatever I can to break the cycle of poverty,” she said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 62.6 million people volunteered with an organization at least once between September 2014 and September 2015. Older adults between the ages of 35 and 54 had the highest volunteer rates, while younger adults between the ages of 20 and 24 had the lowest volunteer rates.
Angel Harrison, who is an associate at Martha’s Outfitters, believes more young people should serve their communities through volunteer opportunities. “Put yourself in [a less fortunate person’s] shoes. You would want people to help you. You will never know what someone is going through.”
Prospective volunteers can visit Martha's Table’s website to find dates and times of various shifts. Martha’s Table also accepts donations from individuals unable to volunteer. Visit the Martha's Table volunteer page to find opportunities to get involved.