Despite Sunday afternoon’s damp weather, a group of Georgetown students participated in the Spirit of Georgetown, a community clean-up that raised $20,000 for the Georgetown Ministry Center, a nonprofit group that works to help the homeless of the area. Paul St. Lawrence (COL ’99), a member of the Community Action Coalition, who along with For-a-Day, a GU group that organizes one-day events, helped organize the event, said that approximately 70 students, as well as several members of the Georgetown community, many of whom were members of the Georgetown Ministry Center Board, were on hand to help clean our community. “It was a great opportunity for students to kind of contribute to their more immediate Georgetown community,” St. Lawrence said. According to St. Lawrence, volunteers spent their time picking up trash, removing graffiti and doing “basically anything to make the area look nicer.” Participants concentrated on cleaning the waterfront down by K St., the Georgetown Public Library off of Wisconsin Avenue, the P and Q St. bridges and the Pennsylvania and M St. area, said St. Lawrence. Chris Koliba, associate director of Volunteer and Public Services and a member of GMC for almost five years, explained that the money was raised by soliciting donations from Georgetown businesses. Most donated between $50 and $2,000, and some, like Ben and Jerry’s and Blues Alley, donated gift certificates and other items which were used as raffle prizes and gifts for the volunteers. Georgetown students have participated in the Spirit of Georgetown since it began four years ago. However, according to Koliba, GMC has actually been operating since about ten years ago, when several area churches and temples responded to a particularly harsh winter and made a commitment to give aid to the homeless. GMC is based in the Grace Episcopal Church on Wisconsin, and its members are generally congregations from the surrounding Georgetown area, Koliba said. embers of these congregations volunteer their time at the emergency shelter run in the winter and give whatever aid they can to the poor and homeless of Georgetown, many of whom have mental health issues, said Christina Aquino, program coordinator of VPS. Georgetown participates on the board, donates several thousand dollars a year to the organization, tries to provide internships for students at GMC and has even considered constructing a homeless shelter on campus, Koliba said. In addition, the university attempts to provide volunteers from among its students for the many projects GMC undertakes, he added. “It was very heartening to see Georgetown students respond as usual to a call for help. It was nice to see the end product – the garbage picked up, the sidewalks weeded and what have you,” Koliba said. Georgetown University is the only non-congregation member of GMC, Koliba said.

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