Community Outreach Ministries

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ (Matthew, 25:34-36)

SocialThe Church is a community of human beings who, while still subject to sin, strive to live out the Gospel call to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our St. Michael Parish faith community works to promote justice and charity through numerous ministries and programs.

Beyond Just Faith
Just Faith is a 30 week program that focuses on options for the poor and on solidarity, two of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching. The Beyond Just Faith ministry provides an outlet for the graduates of the Just Faith program to more fully participate in putting that teaching into action. The group meets monthly and supports programs such as the Bread for the World letter-writing campaign, Fair Trade sales, faithful citizenship and creating a culture of peace forums. All parishioners are invited to participate.
Contact: Celeste Maris (360) 923-1809 or

Ways to be involved: 

  • Provide direct service/action, either individually or in a group, e.g., St. Vincent de Paul, Pregnancy Aid, Drexel House, Community Kitchen, the Homeless Shelters.
  • Participate in Advocacy efforts, such as letter writing and Catholic Advocacy Day. Sign up for the USCCB mailing list at
  • Participate in Justice Education, e.g., Just Faith programs.
  • Join, organize, or lead a community group that seeks to change structures and policy.
  • Pray for those impacted by inequality and for the conversion of the hearts of those who oppress.
  • Simplify your life—use fewer resources, reuse/recycle, buy FairTrade products, and avoid purchasing “sweatshop” products.
  • Support financially those projects and causes that lead to social justice, e.g., Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Catholic Community Services (CCS), Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

Bridge of Hope Grief Support Ministry.
Bridge of Hope is a faith-based support group for those experiencing any type of grief. Grief support facilitators help individuals work through the feelings, thoughts, and memories associated with their grief. Facilitators should have listening skills and deep faith, the ability to give comfort, support, and encouragement; to develop strategies for seeking support and self-care as well as a deep trust in God’s power and presence. Training and/or experience is helpful. Facilitators work with a co-leader to facilitate eight consecutive weekly meetings held on Saturdays from 10am-noon. Facilitators and co-facilitators have the option to lead one full cycle of eight meetings per year or meet one-on-one with those needing support. Facilitators are needed to support those experiencing stillbirth, miscarriage, death of an infant, addiction, and other types of grief.
Contact: Benedetta Reece at (360) 292-7143 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Facilitate a cycle of eight consecutive meetings
  • Provide one to one support
  • Write comfort notes (letters, drawings, origami, etc)
  • Pray for those who are grieving

Catholic Advocacy Day
St. Michael Parish hosts the annual Catholic Advocacy Day where Catholics from all over the state come together for a day to pray and learn about issues impacting the poor.  There is Mass and information about current legislation in the WA State Legislature and CAD’s position that the WA State Catholic Conference takes to the Legislature. The afternoon involves meeting with state legislators at the State Capitol to advocate on the issues.

 Ways to be involved:

  • Sign up for newsletters and action alerts at the WA State Catholic Conference website (
  • Join in Catholic Advocacy Day in the Winter during the legislative session
  • Transport gifts into vehicles to take to Family Preservation Center

Clothing Bank
In the spirit of Christ, our volunteers assist the needy of our community by sorting and distributing donated clothing, bedding, and other household items to them. Those sorting donations typically work Monday and Friday mornings, plus Wednesday evenings. The Clothing Bank is open 9-11:00am on Tuesdays and Saturdays, plus 6:30-8pm Thursdays, and volunteers are always welcome to help distribute donations to those in need. If your availability falls outside the typical operating hours, the Clothing Bank can still make good use of any time you have available to volunteer!
Contact: Ed or Karen Knuckey at (360) 943-4567,, or

Community Kitchen
Catholic Community Services operates the meal program for the hungry and homeless at the Salvation Army site at the intersection of 5th and Plum. Parishioners from St. Michael Parish, along with people from a number of other area churches and institutions prepare, serve, and clean up at meals Monday through Saturday. There are always opportunities to support the Community Kitchen at lunch or at dinner. Hours for lunch preparation are 9-11am, with serving and cleanup from 11am-1pm. Hours for dinner preparation are generally 3-5pm, with dinner service and cleanup 5-7pm. Some volunteers assist for the entire four hour lunch or dinner service, while others assist only for a specific two hour shift. Youth aged 6-17 are welcome to accompany their parents. Training is provided.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

Ways to be involved: 

  • Grocery shopping
  • Prepare meals
  • Serve meals

Christmas Giving
The downtown church partners with Catholic Community Services, Drexel House, and St. Mike’s Tikes every year at Christmas for the names of needy individuals in our community. Volunteers set up a Giving Tree, hang tags with the wish lists of those needing gifts, and deliver donated gifts to the partner organizations. The Westside Chapel similarly partners with the City of Tumwater for names of needy individuals. Volunteers set up a table with the wish lists of those needing gifts and deliver those gifts to the partner organizations.
Downtown – Bene Reece at (360) 292-7143 or
Westside – Rich Pallechio at (360) 786-0055

Ways to be involved:

  • Call and get gift wish lists from partner organizations
  • Number all gift recipients
  • Print gift card tags on colored card stock
  • Display the tags in Gathering Space (coordinate with Michelle C)
  • Distribute tags before and after Masses
  • Attend the display
  • Deliver gifts to partner organization

Detention Ministry
Detention ministry volunteers bring the Word of God and the message of God’s love and forgiveness to incarcerated men and women. Working in teams, volunteers share their faith with prisoners by leading or assisting with activities such as Bible study, prayer services, faith formation classes, and by bringing Holy Communion to Catholics behind bars. Others may assist with parish activities in support of this ministry. Volunteers should have a deep faith, the gift of patience and the willingness to recognize the God-given dignity of every person. This ministry requires a background check and Safe Environment training, and volunteers must comply with specific requirements depending on the institution they visit.
Contact: Benedetta Reece at (360) 292-7143 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Bible study classes (weekly and monthly)
  • Prayer services
  • Faith Formation classes
  • Bringing Holy Communion to Catholics behind bars
  • Help with Parish activities in support of this Ministry
  • Donate new or gently used soft covered English and Spanish religious books, magazines, holy cards, etc.  Bring to the Parish Office
  • Donate new or gently used reading glasses (cheaters) all strengths.  Bring to the Parish Office
  • Donate new white t-shirts, socks, and underwear.  Bring to the Parish Office
  • Monetary gifts to purchase the daily meditations magazine: The Word Among Us
  • Write notes for spiritual support (Christmas, Easter, throughout the year)
  • Bake cookies at Christmas time for the inmates Christmas box
  • Employment upon release

Dialogue for Justice
Archdiocesan Initiative/Program of Catholic Community Services (CCS) which promotes more involvement in the legislative process through active communication with elected officials.

Ways to be involved:

Helping Hands
This ministry provides a “helping hand” to people 18 and older who are in need of temporary assistance, regardless of their faith, ability, or income by providing meals on different occasions, short-term respite for caregivers, visiting or calling on the home-bound, plus assisting with healthcare appointments, grocery shopping, or other errands. Requires a valid driver’s license and auto insurance, as well as a background check and Safe Environment training. No minimum service time is required and is based on your schedule and availability.
Contact: Benedetta Reece at (360) 292-7143 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Friendly visits
  • Phone calls
  • Notes of comfort for those who are sick, alone and grieving
  • Transportation to doctor appointments, grocery store or other locations in town
  • Temporary Meal preparation and/or meal donations for those unable to do so because of injuries or other causes.

Impact is the service outreach ministry of LifeTeen, based on Matthew 5:16, which states, “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” It is open to youth in the LifeTeen and EDGE programs, who help to be the mouth, arms, and feet of Christ as they work at community assistance activities from visiting the elderly to cleaning up a neighbor’s yard. Volunteers are especially needed to help plan and coordinate events.
Contact: Abre Peters at (360) 292-7106 or

Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter
In collaboration with Interfaith Works, St. Michael volunteers help staff the shelter, which is currently hosted for the entire season by other area churches. Guests are pre-screened and given light case management through Sidewalk Advocacy Center. Volunteers spend the evening from 5-10pm at the shelter, where they supervise and build relationships with guests. There are additional opportunities for volunteers to prepare and serve meals and wash bedding materials. Families are welcome and encouraged to participate in hosting and meals. Training is provided and a background check and Safe Environment training are required.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Volunteer for one or two night shifts a month
  • Donate socks, underwear, hats, mittens, hand warmers, etc.
  • Bring non perishable food items
  • Bake and bring cookies
  • Write support cards

Journey of the Heart
As people of God, we are called to be missionaries. Journey of the Heart organizes short term mission experiences within and outside the archdiocese. Some volunteers will go on a mission trip, helping to paint or repair facilities, care for children, or distribute food – whatever is needed. Others will plan mission activities, provide transportation, prepare missionaries for their journey, or support them and the people they serve with prayer. Meetings are monthly for about two hours. The only requirements are compassion and the desire to love and serve others.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Sign up to go on one of the mission trips
  • Be a Prayer Partner for someone on a mission trip
  • Attend to mission trip meeting before and after the trip to Juarez
  • Donate money to the mission trip or to support scholarships for the trips

JustFaith and Engaging Spirituality
These are programs offered by JustFaith to educate the minds and hearts of participants with the intent that they are moved to go out and become involved in justice issues and programs.  These programs involve 21-24 weekly classes of prayer, reading, and discussions that explore Catholic faith and Catholic Social Teaching.
Contact: Celeste Maris at (360) 923-1809 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Sign up to take either the JustFaith or Engaging Spirituality class that starts in the Fall.
  • Facilitate the class that you take (all facilitation direction is provided)
  • Support the classes by photocopying facilitator notes, participant handouts, etc.

Little Red Schoolhouse
St. Michael Parish teams up with other groups in town to collect, organize and distribute clothing and school supply donation for kids of low income families.

The St. Michael Giving Bus program has partnered with the Little Red School House to provide children in need with back to school supplies.  Together we helped over 3,000 children start the school year off ready to learn with the supplies that they need.  Each summer St. Michael hosts a supply drive where we collect monetary donations, school supplies and back packs.  This year we will also be collecting new and gently used children coats, new socks, and underwear for children.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Donate clothing or school items
  • Help sorting items
  • Transportation to deliver supplies

Meals for Moms/Food for Fathers
This ministry presents an opportunity to deliver dinner to mothers in our parish who have recently given birth. You’ll receive an e-mail notification whenever a new baby arrives (averages about twice a month) along with a link to a convenient website where you can chose a date that works for you, plan a dinner, and deliver it to the family. There are also occasional opportunities, using the same online process, to bring dinner to our priests at the rectory. St. Michael School families also receive an hour of community service credit for each meal delivered.
Contact: Valarie Ripley at (360) 923-9227 or

Men’s Homeless Shelter
There is a need every year for volunteers to serve as shelter hosts and to prepare food. Between November 1 and February 28, hosts spend one or two nights per month supervising a shelter for homeless men in the downtown church Gathering Space and meeting rooms. There are always two hosts present, and couples and families are encouraged to participate together. The shelter houses up to twelve men per evening, and opens from 8 pm – 7 am. Volunteers new to hosting will be teamed with experienced hosts. There are additional opportunities for volunteers to prepare meals for each night the shelter is open, as well as to wash bedding materials. Training is provided and a background check and Safe Environment training are required.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

Ways to be involved: 

  • Volunteer for one or two night shifts a month
  • Setup gathering space rooms with mats, blankets, etc.
  • Drive St. Mike’s Tikes van to Salvation Army to pick-up 12 men on the screened guest list
  • Drive guests to Salvation Army or Union Gospel Mission by about 6:30am for breakfast
  • Cook and deliver a meal to shelter guests on your assigned/chosen nights
  • Schedule cooks for each night of the season
  • Keep kitchen supplies (milk, juice, bowls, etc.) stocked
  • Donate socks, underwear, hats, mittens, hand warmers, etc.
  • Donate laundry detergent
  • Wash and dry bed sheets
  • Taking laundry to and from shelter location

Monthly Food Collection
St. Michael Parish collects food donations for the Thurston County Food Bank and the YMCA “Other Bank” on the first Sunday of each month. Parishioners drop off their donations before Masses at both parish sites. On the following Monday, volunteers meet, sort, and box the food and other supplies.
Downtown – Doris & Robert Smith at (360) 459-4612
Westside – Robin Groefsema at (360) 628-8495 or

Ways to be involved: 

  • Donate non-perishable food
  • Donate cash
  • Donate women’s personal hygiene items
  • Donate paper products; i.e., toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and cleaning supplies
  • Donate paper and plastic bags
  • Volunteer to assist on Monday mornings
  • Pray for those who need this assistance

Parish Nurse Ministry
Parish Nursing promotes whole person health within the context of the values, beliefs, and practices of our Catholic faith. It includes functions such as health education, health counseling, advocacy, developing support groups, and coordinating health events. Volunteers should have the desire to improve or address today’s health care needs and need not be a health care provider, though we’d love to have you if you are!

Ways to be involved:

  • Attend Parish Nurse Meetings on 4th Tuesday of the month, so you can give input for topics of future events and be part of planning
  • Come to events and assist attendees with sign in
  • Healthcare providers can assist with blood pressure clinics 4 X year after the Mass you will already be attending.
  • Record BP’s and pulse and patient education.  Less than 1 hour commitment.
  • Sign people in and hold up signs in Gathering Space.
  • Make phone calls to interested candidates

Pastoral Care Ministry
As Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion to the sick (also known as Eucharistic Visitors), Pastoral Care volunteers bring Holy Communion to members of our faith who are temporarily or permanently unable to join the community at Mass. We care for the home-bound and those living in retirement communities, assisted care communities or nursing homes, and parishioners who are in hospitals or rehabilitation facilities. Ministers are commissioned for two years. Training is required and provided, and a background check and Safe Environment training are required as well.
Contact: Benedetta Reece at (360) 292-7143 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Bring the Eucharist to the homebound members of our faith community on a weekly basis or as fill in
  • Write notes of comfort for the homebound (letters, drawings, origami, etc)

Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl is not only a knitted or crocheted garment of many colors and patterns, but a mystery of God’s wisdom and warming embrace for those faced with life’s challenges. Come and share your talent and prayers and enjoy fellowship with members on Wednesdays from 1-3pm. The group prays over the shawls, which are then blessed and given to those in need of comfort, or even in celebration!
Contact: Mary Orzam at (707) 599-5820

Ways to be involved:

  • Create a shawl by crocheting or knitting and turn in at the office with your name and a phone number
  • Donate yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks to the ministry
  • Donate gift cards to Joanne or Michael’s
  • Pray for our ministers
  • Pray for the recipients of shawls
  • Send someone to the office who needs a shawl or go to the office and pick up a shawl for them

Pregnancy Aid
Pregnancy Aid provides pregnancy tests, decision-making information, positive emotional support, maternity clothing, prenatal vitamins, baby clothing and diapers, bassinets, emergency infant formula, toddler clothing, and referral services. The office is open from 2-4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons and 9am-noon on Wednesday mornings.
Contact: Karen Wood Knuckey at (360) 956-7413 or

Ways to be involved: 

  • Staff the office and provide services to clients
  • Invite single/married moms-to-be looking for resources to help with baby needs to come to Pregnancy Aid.
  • Stop at Pregnancy Aid and pick up some pamphlets and take them to schools, clinics, doctor offices, etc. so they will be available to those needing our services.
  • Donate new and gently used maternity, baby, and toddler clothing as well as strollers, car seats less than 6 years old, high chairs, swings, etc.

Sanctity of Life
The Sanctity of Life Committee promotes all life issues that are woven into the seven facets of Catholic social teaching. They focus on the dignity and value of all human life from conception to natural death. They participate in the 40 Days for Life, Catholic Advocacy Day, and October Respect Life months, among other activities. The group gathers monthly to plan events and pray. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month from 7-8:30pm. All are welcome.
Contact: Brandon Jones at (360) 292-7108 or

 Ways to be involved: 

  • 40 days for Life
  • Monthly meetings
  • Prayer
  • Active involvement in legislative updates
  • Participate in the annual Mass and March for Life or maybe even hold Memorial Mass to remember babies lost to abortion or by miscarriage.
  • Educate and encourage advocacy on life and family issues before the legislature

Social Justice Committee
This group meets monthly to discuss local, national and international social issues, such as poverty, environment, immigration and the death penalty.  They support social justice efforts through education, community organizing, witness and advocacy.

Ways to be involved: 

  • Attend the monthly potluck
  • Join the conversation
  • Be active in your community

St. Paul Street Evangelization
St. Paul Street Evangelization is a grassroots, non-profit organization, dedicated to responding to the mandate of Jesus to preach the Gospel to all nations by taking our Catholic Faith to the streets. We do this in a non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who witness our public Catholic presence. Our chapter takes the faith to the streets of Olympia. It’s much easier than you think and more rewarding than you could hope. Call Mario and see how we’re spreading the Good News in Thurston County.
Contact: Mario Villanueva at (360) 292-7104 or

St. Vincent de Paul Society
“St. Vinnie’s” provides financial assistance to those in need within certain guidelines. A special emphasis is keeping those with housing from becoming homeless by providing assistance to those facing eviction or imminent power and water shutoffs. The ministry operates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1-3 PM and requires a minimum commitment of 4 hours monthly. A background check is required.
Contact: Roger Theine at (360) 352-7554 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Join the St. Vincent de Paul Society and volunteer an occasional shift in their office
  • Donate money to help fund the services they provide

St. Vincent DePaul Clothing Bank
The clothing bank collects donations of clothing, sorts and organizes the items and operates the bank which is open three times per week.  They served more than 19,000 people last year.  Clothing is given away at no cost and is open to anyone in need.
Contact: Roger Theine at (360) 352-7554 or

Ways to be involved:

  • Donate gently used items to the clothing bank
  • Help sort the items
  • Staff the bank during open hours

Youth Migrant Project (YMP)
Youth in grades 6-8 work in food and clothing banks and other outreach projects that serve our migrant sisters and brothers of the Skagit Valley during this week-long summer “mission at home”. Their desire is to discover Jesus’ call to a life of loving service, understand the importance of respecting the rights of all people, experience the richness of Hispanic culture, make new friends by developing and deepening their faith, and experience the universality of the Catholic Church. The project needs adults to serve as chaperones and drivers who are willing to share their faith and lead youth during this intense week of service. Adults are also needed to help with prep work, collect donations, and serve as “prayer warriors”. Training is provided and a background check and Safe Environment training are required.
Contact: Anna Swanson at  (360) 292-7137 or


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