“You’re Who We’ve Been Waiting For”
by Darrel Fiddermon
Rev. Darrel Fiddermon
My story is like so many others that have come through the Mission: drug and alcohol abuse and brokenness. An Eastern Shore, MD, native, I moved to Washington, DC, with my family when I was 17. After four years in the military, in 1989 I found myself aimless, homeless and arrested for intent to distribute drugs. The court required that I complete 100 hours of community service at Central Union Mission.
As part of my service, I was unloading new winter coats that had come in as a donation. I wanted one so badly. Even though I had enough money to buy one, I thought I would be slick and get one from the Mission for free. I gave Mr. Harris my sad story about not having a coat. He quietly wrote out a permission slip and said simply, “OK. Go downstairs and get one”—no strings, no hoops, no deals. This generosity was so free and
accepting that it made me feel guilty for trying to cheat; it so touched my heart that later that week I submitted my application into the Spiritual Recovery Program (prior to today’s Spiritual Transformation Program.)
I was accepted the next month in January 1990. At that point, I had met some of the men already. They said, “So you’re who we’ve been waiting for.” The Mission had been holding a bed for 30 days; it turns out God had graciously set me up! I stayed with the program for nine months when I heard God calling me to move on.
With God’s favor and my new faith, I was ready to follow Dr. Hall’s advice: “On the day you come into the Mission, prepare for the day you go out.” I was baptized and became a member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church. I found two jobs that helped pay my rent at an Oxford House facility; my church paid my first month’s rent and security deposit, and I was determined to repay them.
I became increasingly involved in serving at my church. I was choir director, then men’s Sunday School teacher, assistant to the pastor, deacon, and I even became licensed to preach. My first date with my wife of 16 years was to one of my sermons in the Mission basement.
From those humble beginnings our relationship took off, and, as well, I continued to preach at the Mission once a month for 11 years. Since then, I have become an ordained reverend and, along with my wife Lisa, pastor New Vision in the City Free Methodist Church on Alabama Avenue, SE.
Since I left Central Union Mission, I’ve been drug- and alcohol-free for 21 years. I have answered the call to preach, gotten married, become a dad to two beautiful children and own the house that we live in. My children and I like to donate clothes to the Mission together so my kids can see where I’ve come from. I am forever grateful for the Mission and their kindness and willingness to be used by God to repair and restore broken
We Can’t Say It Enough.
We can only serve the needy in our community with help from you. Our friends supply food, prayers, volunteer time, funds and inspiration for those trying to get their lives back together in Washington, DC. Thank you for obeying God’s command to serve “the least of these” and for trusting Central Union Mission as your partner.
Food Plus Distribution
July 13, 2013
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
We need your help to distribute groceries to families at the Food Plus Center (3182-B Bladensburg Road, NE, Washington, DC 20018.)
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Please come help us prepare grocery bags at the Food PLUS Center.
11:00 am to 2:00 pm
We need your help to hand out food to our hungry neighbors.
Also, we need help for bagging emergency groceries, parking and running the emergency food registration table every Monday through Thursday. The Food Plus Center work is located at 3182-B Bladensburg Road, NE, Washington, DC 20018. Please visit www.missiondc/volunteercentral for more details, schedules and to register yourself or your group.
The Mission on the Move
Soldiers from the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research volunteered to help us pack for our move.
What an exciting time to be serving God at Central Union Mission! We’re anticipating our “Promised Land” at 65 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, but first we’ve crossed the Red Sea. Here are some of the details about our next move.
Why is Central Union Mission moving this fall?
Central Union Mission, the city’s oldest social service agency, is returning to the heart of the city. In the early 1980s, the Pennsylvania Avenue expansion plan displaced the Mission from its location downtown through eminent domain. We were relocated to 1350 R Street, NW, right on the corner of 14th and R Streets. Recent efforts to revitalize the 14th Street corridor have forced many people in need out of the area.
Since we are dedicated to helping those often overlooked and neglected by society, Central Union Mission’s new home will be located at 65 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, just two blocks from Union Station. We are renovating the former Gales School Building, which is listed on the District’s Inventory of Historical Sites and hope to move in by early fall 2013.
But what about the summer?
Our current facility has been sold, and the owners are ready to develop a facility that will bring more amenities to 14th Street. So that we can continue serving our residents, we’ve moved our Men’s Ministry to a temporary location in southern Ward 2 at 810 5th Street, NW.
How did this temporary move affect our services?
There was no interruption in service to people who are in need. We’re sheltering homeless men at 810 5th Street, NW. Our food and clothing distributions now take place at our Food PLUS Center (formerly the Distribution Center) located at 3182-B Bladensburg Road, NE, Washington, DC, 20018, which continues to be accessible by car or bus. The Food PLUS Center is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm. Please call
202-529-0165, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What about donations?
We still need your donations. You can drop off food and clothing at 810 5th Street, NW, but because of limited space, please donate furniture and equipment to our Food PLUS Center. Our work is only possible through your generous financial support. You can mail financial donations to Central Union Mission, P.O. Box 96763, Washington, DC 20090-6763, or donate online at www.missiondc.org/partner.
Do we still need volunteers?
Absolutely! We so appreciate the kindness and assistance that you bring to help our neighbors in need. During this transitional period, we need you even more. Check out the various opportunities available at www.missiondc.org/VolunteerCentral.
What’s our contact information?
You (and people in need) can call us; our phone number remains 202-745-7118. You can always visit us at www.missiondc.org, and for concerns specific to our move, you can e-mail email@example.com.
We’re so glad you’re joining Central Union Mission on our exodus to the heart of the city. We are grateful for your support and for your prayers.