Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Ministry

OLQP scarves for the homeless project
OLQP crafters with handmade scarves for the homeless

Our parish commitment to social justice is more fully described by the title above. We began using a new model in 2015. At its core are a number of issue-based teams (many listed below) that will address social justice with the parish through education programs and opportunities for advocacy and action. There is also a council of 7 individuals who meet monthly and strive to integrate the various parish activities related to social justice whether advocacy-based or through direct service. They use several communication tools to keep the parish informed on issues of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
Contact: Michelle Knight, mknight@olqpva.org, 703-979-5580.

Food Security Team
Hunger is still a reality in our world and even in wealthy Arlington County there are pockets of hunger. This team screens films and fosters discussion around hunger issues. In addition, they provide opportunities for the parish to respond to legislation affecting hungry people, both close-by and around the world.
Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelynabrown@gmail.com

Immigration Team
Conditions on the US/Mexico border, unaccompanied minors, dreamers, those seeking citizenship: these and other topics keep the immigration team finding ways to advocate for better lives for migrants. Team leader needed.
Contact: Michelle Knight, mknight@olqpva.org

Consistent Ethic of Life Team
In a consistent way, we pray for, stand with and protect any human life threatened by violence or deprivation. We embrace the concept of a Consistent Ethic of Life, beginning in our parish and radiating out into the community. On issues affecting the entirety of human life from conception to natural death, we strive to emphasize how they are all connected. We raise awareness, provide education, and work to promote positive action.
Contact: Shari Zamarra - 703-323-9367,shari.zamarra@gmail.com

Respect Life Ministry
The goal of the Respect Life Ministry is threefold: 1) raising awareness of the humanity and civil rights of unborn children, as part of our parish's social justice mission; 2) encouraging our parish community to pray and give public witness through such programs as the Forty Days for Life and the March for Life; 3) educating the community and influencing legislation on issues relating to the seamless garment of life, most particularly, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and war.
Contact: Julie Hanlon Bolton - juliehanlonbolton@yahoo.com

Integrity of Creation Team
The team works to provide members of OLQP with information, insights and inspiration for acting upon the growing concern over the kind of Earth their children and grandchildren will inherit. In conjunction with other organizations, such as the Catholic Climate Covenant, Interfaith Power and Light and Green Faith, the team educates the parish and advocates for the integrity of creation. Participation with this ministry is encouraged. Go to our Integrity of Creation web page for more information.
Contact: Brian Kane, bpkane@comcast.net.

Labor & Income Inequality Team
Concerned about the plight of low-wage workers? Wondering how our economy can continue to leave so many out of prosperity? Join this team to learn more and help provide educational events and participate in actions to restore labor rights and economic equality.
Contact: Laura Bandini, htlaura1@gmail.com.


Contact: Social Justice and Outreach Minister,
Michelle Knight - mknight@olqpva.org, 703-979-5580
(unless otherwise noted)

CommuniTEA Ministry
"CommuniTEA Calling" is a private label non-profit tea company which sells black, green and herbal teas with proceeds benefitting OLQP's Food Pantry. CommuniTEA Calling hosts tea events for Matt 25 guests to provide a calming experience of hot tea, coffee and pastries to be shared with family and guests of Matt 25. Often the shopping experience at Matt 25 can be competitive and stressful. Providing a pleasant and restful social experience at the end of the shopping outing can make all the difference to inspire a community of caring. Volunteers are needed to bake and help host events. Our goal is to extend the Ministry to Wednesdays, the busiest shopping time at Matt 25.
Contact: Mary Mahoney Hellem - mmhellem@gmail.com.

Brown Bag Lunches
Every Thursday 64 nutritious bag lunches are made here at the parish and distributed through partnership with the Shirlington Employment and Education Center and the Freedman's Organization in the Nauck community.
Contact: Michelle Knight: 703-979-5580, mknight@olqpva.org.

Building Forever Families
The BFF ministry focuses on needs related to adoption, foster care, and children who have been orphaned. The ministry serves and advocates for children living without families; provides peer support and advocates for current and prospective adoptive & foster families; and educates the community about these important topics. We do this in response to God's call to care for children who live without families.
Contact: Rebecca Carpenter, Rebecca.E.Carpenter@gmail.com

Carpenter's Shelter
Each third Thursday of the month OLQP volunteers provide a nutritious meal for the residents of Alexandria's Carpenter's Shelter. Several opportunities for participation are involved: provide a portion of the meal by delivering it to the parish, help prepare the meal for delivery to the shelter or serve at the shelter. A sign-up board is prepared each month and hung in the church vestibule, to the right as you exit from the center aisle.
Contact: Mary Resnick - mary.resnick@gmail.com, 703-462-4841

Capital Area Mobile Food Distribution
Every third Thursday of the month, the Capital Area Food Bank delivers a truck-load of produce, bread, sweets and canned goods to Fr. Ray Hall. The food is distributed to about 150 families from the surrounding community. Volunteers are needed to help pack the produce and supervise the distribution of the food. The time commitment is flexible. Packing usually begins at 9:00, distribution begins at 10:00 and clean-up at 12 noon.
Contact: Michelle Knight - 703-979-5580, mknight@olqpva.org.

Food Pantry
A Food Drive is held each 2nd Sunday of the month to stock the pantry shelves with donations of canned goods and non-perishable items for our hungry neighbors. Re-useable cloth grocery bags and a shopping list are distributed the weekend before. The 2nd Sunday Food Drive does not provide for the current demand -- an average of 170 bags of food are distributed to area residents each week to help supplement their grocery needs; over 8,000 bags a year - so food donations are encouraged throughout the month. Contents of our food bags include canned vegetables, meat or fish, pasta, pasta sauce, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, rice, beans, cereal, bread and donated fresh produce and meat from the Capital Area Food Bank. Ministry opportunities include helping with the monthly food drives, sorting and bagging the donations, packaging produce, shopping for what is still needed after donations come in, and distributing the bags on Wednesday mornings.
Contact: Michelle Knight - 703-979-5580, mknight@olqpva.org.

Gabriel Project
We strive to bring Good News to pregnant women as the angel Gabriel did to Mary. If you know someone struggling with a pregnancy for any reason, please contact us. Support could include friendship, prayer, help with transportation and/or meals, baby clothes and items, connections to local resources. Donations of diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, strollers, and cribs are always needed. Another part of our ministry is serving Spanish speaking women who come to the Parish Food Pantry on Wednesday mornings. Volunteers always welcome. Training is available for mentor 'angels'.
Contact: Shari Zamarra - 703-323-9367, sharizamarra@yahoo.com.

Just$ Grocery Card
Just$ is Our Lady Queen of Peace's program to raise funds for the Parish Food Pantry and the Orphans of AIDS in Africa ministry. Money is generated from the sale of gift cards from Giant, Safeway and Shoppers Food Warehouse (5%). Cards are sold by volunteers after Masses every weekend.
Contact: Michelle Knight - 703-979-5580, mknight@olqpva.org or Frances Michalkewicz - 703-461-8870, fmichalkewicz@comcast.net.

Orphans of AIDS in Africa
OLQP promotes awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on African families, lend moral and financial support and solidarity to African Catholic organizations serving the affected families. A portion of the funds raised through Just$ are being used to help a community project in Mweiga, Kenya.
Contact: Frances Michalkewicz, fmichalkewicz@comcast.net.

Matthew 25 Clothing Store
Our used clothing thrift shop located in the Ministry Center. It provides an outlet for the distribution of clothing within the community and has an all-volunteers staff. Additional volunteers are needed to help sort donations and operate the facility. Matt 25 is open Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from 9 am to 12 noon, and Thursday afternoons from 12-3 pm. The volunteer commitment is 4 hours per month -- the rewards are plenty. Matt 25 also assists with an annual backpack drive for needy area children.
Contact: Michelle Knight, mknight@olqpva.org.

OLQP Garden
From spring to fall, share the planting, caring, and harvesting of "Isidore's Garden." Volunteers prepare and plant the garden together and rotate weeks of care. Volunteer also harvest vegetable for the OLQP weekly food pantry distribution in the peak months. Two to three hours of care is required during a volunteer's week.
Contact: Brian Kane, bpkane@comcast.net, 703-850-3159.

Scarves for the Homeless
The Scarves for the Homeless ministry is in its 9th year and has over 50 volunteers at various skill levels who knit or crochet scarves for homeless men, women and children in Arlington. The homemade scarves are given as gifts at Christmas to remind the recipient they are not forgotten. Volunteers knit or crochet at their own pace and yarn is frequently donated.
Contact: Marilena Amoni: mamoni530@gmail.com.

Haiti Ministry
This group is committed to facilitating and supporting the linkage of our parish with our sister parish, St. Joseph's in Medor, Haiti, which started in 1997. St. Joseph parish encompasses a rural community of approximately 40,000 people spread over 74 square miles in the mountains of central Haiti. Medor has no electrical grid, or running water, no sewage or trash disposal. Most of the people are subsistence farmers.

Queen of Peace provided funds to build the primary and secondary schools, and continues to support a good portion of the expenses of the schools that educate about 3,000 children, as well as clean water, sanitation, health and agro-forestry initiatives. The main thrust is helping the people of Medor raise their own economic standard of living as we work to deepen the relationship between the people of both communities. A key goal of all our joint projects is sustainability. The Haitians contribute their time, labor and whatever funds they can. They identify priorities, manage programs, and do the all the work in the community. Join us in strengthening this global partnership. Click here for more information on our work in Haiti or join us on Facebook.
Contact: Sue Carlson - 703-969-4597, marysusancarlson@gmail.com.

VOICE - Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement
As Catholics we have a rich heritage of social justice teachings that challenge us to move beyond charity and seek justice in our own communities and the larger world around us. Our ability to influence positive change in unjust systems is greatly enhanced when we engage with other like-minded people. OLQP is a founding member of VOICE, a community organizing group composed of over 40 faith communities throughout northern Virginia that are united in solidarity with our vulnerable brothers and sisters. VOICE is working on three agenda areas: affordable housing (including the condition of existing housing stock), schools and our country's broken immigration system.
Contact: Nicole Spence-Goon, nickkiluv@yahoo.com or Chuck Moran - 703-892-4154, chuckmoran@verizon.net.


OLQP proudly and generously offers warmth, welcome and a helping hand to our neighbors in need through several annual programs and events - Shoebox Weekend is one fantastic example (see description below). The program, organized by Ann Felker, runs like a top, but needs a good dozen volunteers to make it happen. These annual programs and the call for volunteers are advertised through the parish bulletin just prior to each event.

Shoebox Weekend for the Homeless
In early December, with parishioner generosity, shoeboxes (filled with comfort items: socks, flashlight, shoelaces, comb, lip balm, cap, nail clippers, grocery card, toiletries, candy and gum) become gifts for our homeless brothers and sisters. At the OLQP Wrapping Station, boxes are transformed into gifts labeled for a "lady" or a "gentleman". Help is always welcome to sort and deliver the gifts once they are wrapped.
Contact: Ann Felker - gr8est9@gmail.com

Thanksgiving Food Baskets
OLQP provides Thanksgiving food "baskets", complete with a 10-15 pound turkey, to over 200 of our hungry area families. Much of the parish participates in this OLQP tradition by donating food items, and then sorting and bagging the food and distributing the baskets.
Contact: Michelle Knight - 703-979-5580, mknight@olqpva.org

Our Lady Queen of Peace

2700 South 19th Street
Arlington, Virginia, 22204, USA
703-979-5580 Office
703-979-5590 Fax
Office hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (closed on federal holidays)