The Missionary Newsletter

“They Are My Family”
by Megan Goosey

Marc O'Brien
Marc O'Brien

I had always thought of myself as a golden boy; everything had always gone my way. All of a sudden everyone started saying, “No.” Doors were slammed in my face. I lost my home, car, everything,” Marc O’Brien explained. He was without a job and a place to live.

Marc had graduated from Louisiana State University and shortly after worked his way up to becoming the marketing director of a DC publishing company. In 1995, Marc got a job as a research director for EXTRA, a start-up television entertainment news company under contract with NBC. For 15 years in Los Angeles, Marc trained producers on how to use and verify internet sources for news programming. Then they started to need him less and less: “I essentially worked my way out of a job,” said Marc.

At first, finding a new job seemed easy, but the economy was tight, and jobs were scarce. Marc explains that with all his experience, interviewers thought he was overqualified for the available jobs. No one was creating positions; it was just too expensive. “They wouldn’t hire a man of my age for an entry level position at that point, but I was willing to take anything.” 

In mid-2014 Marc was back in DC job hunting, but the doors remained shut. At last in November 2014, Marc started in the Special Circumstances program at Central Union Mission. He wasn’t in need of a degree or to get off of an addiction; he was just jobless and was going under. “The people at Central Union Mission didn’t owe me anything, but they welcomed me in anyway. The warmth these people have shown me and how decent and wonderful they have been—they are my family.” 

One day Chef Mario Cruz asked Marc to join him in the kitchen, and Marc’s organizational skills were evident. The Mission paid for Marc to get his DC board certification and chef license. Marc still lives at the shelter, but the kitchen has offered him a part-time job. Marc voiced the kitchen has helped him have a sense of self-worth. “Suddenly I was needed, and I needed to be needed. It mended my soul. I got up and did something that mattered.”

The Mission showed Marc love and forgiveness just like Jesus did for us. Marc’s role model is Jimmy Carter. He comments, “Carter is a devout man who believes in God and does so much good for people. I would like to be the kind of Christian he is.”

Marc is experienced in writing, editing, proofreading and research and is looking for jobs in television production, publishing and copy writing. He has been helping the Mission communications team with press releases and media kits. He was also a Mission chef representative at our HeArt & Sole event in October.

Marc is grateful for his new start. “In my old life, I was making money. I assumed my life would go on like that. But I learned I wasn’t above anything. I wouldn’t wish losing everything on anyone. Don’t think that income is going to be there every day. I’ve been to Asia, Europe, Africa; I’ve been very lucky. But people don’t care if you have seen Paris when they are sitting there wondering where their next meal is going to come from.”

Thanks to Our Intern

Megan Goosey

Megan Goosey, a senior advertising/public relations major at Drury University (Springfield, MO), worked at the Mission as Communications / Graphic Design intern through an internship program by The Washington Center. She did interviews and wrote articles, posted on social media and created many graphic design projects.

She says the best part of her internship has been “coming to work every day and knowing you are changing lives.” She liked to interview the men at the Gales School shelter. “No matter how tragic their story, they are always thankful they have found the Mission for support in their time of need. The Mission puts its heart and soul into loving each individual and giving them the resources to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.”

The Missions’ communications staff appreciates Megan’s diligent efforts and her excellent work. We wish her the very best for her future and hope she decides to settle in Washington, DC!

From the Executive Director
The Reason Why

It’s time for my favorite celebration of the year at Central Union Mission. Volunteers have decked the halls with festive decorations; you can smell our kitchen’s savory cooking; the day rooms are a toasty reprieve from the streets.

We are praising God for the gift of His Son by serving others. You might wonder, “Why the fuss? Homeless people should be grateful for whatever they get.” Here we realize that the added attention to friendliness and care is just as important as the food. Guests who feel accepted are more likely to stay for one of our rehabilitation programs and to learn about Jesus.

David O. Treadwell

Your generous gifts make it possible for us to offer new lives to homeless men. Thank you for your compassion. May God richly bless you and your family this Christmas.



shopping online

Show Us You Care

As 2015 comes to a close, Central Union Mission offers many ways you can serve God and bless the hungry and poor people in our neighborhood.

At Work
Your office may have a matching fund program that will double your contribution to the Mission. You can also select Central Union Mission as your United Way (No. 9617) or Combined Federal Campaign (No. 85786) designee. You and your colleagues may want to sponsor a canned-food or coat drive to keep our community warm and well-fed this winter; see for how to organize a goods drive and for some printable flyers.

Doing any Christmas shopping on the Web? You can visit to shop and make a contribution to Central Union Mission at the same time. You can sponsor a guest at our Show Some Love Christmas party, offering him self-confidence and a new start. You can also donate your year-end gift up until midnight on December 31 at Are you considering blessing the Mission through your Will? Check our planned giving information at

At Home
We can distribute your donations of household items, furniture, appliances, clothes and food to needy families through our Food PLUS Center; please bring items to our shelter at 65 Massachusetts Ave., NW or Food PLUS at 3182 Bladensburg Rd., NE. We can also use your donated car to give a desperately needed ride to a doctor appointment or job interview; contact to schedule a pick up.

Are you making decisions about your estate at this time? We can help you make gifts of real estate, stocks and bonds and charitable gift annuities. 
Get your financial advisor’s advice, and contact Debbie Chambers at 202-745-7118, ext. 227, or You can honor or memorialize a loved one in our publications with a Tribute Gift of any amount. To create this recognition, please contact Dené Chinn at 202-745-7118, ext. 255, or

Many use the final weeks of the year to evaluate their tax situations as well as to bless the homeless in Washington, DC. Please remember Central Union Mission with your year-end gift!

Join Us!

Show Some Love
December 12, 2015
5:30 pm

Sponsoring a guest at this event provides dignity that can change a man’s life.

WHUR Toy Drive
December 12, 2015
12:00 to 4:00 pm

WHUR broadcasts live at the Mission shelter. Please drop off winter coats for men, women and children in any sizes.

Spiritual Transformation Program Graduation
December 13, 2015
4:00 pm

Join us in congratulating our newest class of STP grads. 

Operation Christmas Miracle
December 19, 2015
8:00 am

Today we’ll distribute Christmas presents to needy children in our community.

Christmas Banquet
December 25, 2015
12:00 noon

Help serve a holiday meal with all the trimmings to our guests and students.

Food PLUS Center Grocery Distribution
January 4 and 7, 2016
February 7 and 10, 2016
Anytime between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Register at to help prepare food bags for our community.

Seniors Luncheon
January 15 and February 19, 2016
January 28 and February 25, 2016, in Spanish
9:30 am

You can help serve our seniors as they enjoy fellowship and a delicious meal.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration
January 18, 2016
12:00 noon

We need your help to serve our guests honoring Dr. King at this luncheon and program.

Souper Bowl Party
February 7, 2016
5:00 pm

Join us as we cheer for the Big Game.

Every Man’s Birthday Party
February 12, 2016
5:00 pm

There are presents and cake for all at this celebration for our homeless guests. 

Your Legacy—Honoring God

happy couple

God commands us to take care of our families and to help the poor. We honor Him when we’re good stewards of the blessings He’s provided us. You can both prepare for your loved ones and also follow God’s call through the directions you put in your Will. 

Creating a Legacy Gift for Central Union Mission will ensure that your blessings will be shared with the some of the hungriest, most desperate people in the city. Through your generosity, men, women and families can have new lives in Christ.  Please review our new Legacy Giving website for prayers, Bible study and information about how you can serve God and influence Washington, DC. 

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19: 17).

HeArt & Sole

HeArt & Sole brought together renown chefs, local celebrities and Mission supporters to celebrate and contribute to Central Union Mission’s work for homeless and poor neighbors in DC. After enjoying a “Chopped”-style cook-off at the VIP Experience, friends mingled around Dock 5 at Union Market sampling gourmet treats and signature cocktails, bidding at the Silent Auction and listening to jazz saxophonist James Brown of Saxophonic Praise. It was a little too much fun for a fundraiser, but due to our generous chefs, silent auction donors, sponsors and guests, many more homeless people will be safe and warm this winter.

(photo left: Chef Shindeera R from Cupcakes Cakes & Treats made these beauties.)

rock and friends davis and friends
VIP Chef Rock Harper and Host Sunni, Chef Daniel Thomas and Host Jamie Foster Brown planning their creations made from zucchini, strawberries, shrimp and Belgian waffles. Chef Horatio Davis, former New Orleans Saints’ Josh Morgan and friends

Thank You to Our HeArt & Sole Sponsors


National Cable and 
Telecommunications Association
St. Brendan’s Church 
in the City

Daubers, Inc.

Holland & Knight
Sally & John Cox
Vito Dellenoci & 
Haimanot “Mimi” Tefera
Royster Wright

Chesapeake Home Health Care, Inc.
IDMP Consulting
John Jackson
Donna & Pete Jervey
Skyland Properties
The Stafford Foundation

H. René Fonseca
Equipment Co.
Larry Huff
David Leach
LTC. Dwight C. Washington

The Soul of HeArt & Sole

Sharnikya and Deb
HeArt & Sole was a blast due to our volunteer event planner Sharnikya Howard (left) and Mission Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Outreach Deborah Chambers.

Heart and Sole friends
Mission supporters enjoying Dyvine BBQ in Motion’s “BBQ Sundae.”

Really, God, you know I’m not an event planner, right?,” prayed Sharnikya Howard as she assessed the need before her.  The “Chef Event” planning team had just lost its leader, and the next step was far from certain. “I was eager to just help out and be a part of the team,” but with the team’s support, she offered to take on this short-term but influential volunteer position. Sharnikya added this responsibility to already full schedule running her business Life Abundantly Coaching.

Sharnikya and her team of Leslie Green, Shannel Parsons, Crystel Stewart, Tamika Beverly, Tracey Stewart, Betel Worku, Michael Ostrolenk, Debra Byrd and Rich Eisendorf wanted to introduce new friends to the Mission, and a night of gourmet food and friendship was an excellent way to make it happen. Chef Rock Harper agreed to help out, and he went to work pulling in 18 chefs in about two weeks. “It was amazing! One by one, they kept rolling in, eager to support,” she explains. 

In the first meeting Chef Rock said, “It’s time to stop calling it the ‘Chef Event.’ So what’s it called?”  The team came up with “Heart and Soul,” but that seemed a little boring, so they got creative with “HeArt & Sole”: “He” is for Jesus, “Art” represents the chefs’ works of art and ”Sole” is a play on words because the shoe-inspired chefs would be cooking from their souls.’”

The sponsors and silent auction donors they contacted were enthusiastic and generous. God replaced some last minute cancellations with celebrities, judges and chefs like Chef Huda willing to lend a hand. Chef Huda pulled Sharnikya aside and said “This is a great event; stop saying you’re not an event planner!,” and Sharnikya saw that the guests were truly enjoying themselves. “You never know what God will call you to be, but whatever He says you are—even if just for a season—that is what you are. We have to be obedient in every moment to be used for His glory, so I’ll accept whatever He calls me to be.”

We’re so grateful Sharnikya answered His call because she and her team created the first of hopefully many more exciting HeArt & Sole evenings to benefit our city’s hungry and homeless people. Many thanks for their hard work and commitment.

Chef Terrell Danley and DC Central Kitchen staff share their delicious tilapia on grits and greens.

Cold Weather is Here

cold children on the sidewalk

Perhaps you know there is more to caring for homeless men and poor families than giving them turkey dinners. So many also need medical care, rehabilitation, counseling and education to become whole again. Families need food and clothing to keep their children healthy.

After the decorations are packed away, you can be sure that Central Union Mission is still fulfilling God’s call to help the “least of these” who rely on our compassion for their survival. As winter closes in, we are grateful for your commitment to helping our neighbors. Thank you so much!

Show Some Love

A Festive Christmas Dinner for Our Homeless Guests

Show Some Love is an evening of purposeful love bestowed upon our men as we transform the shelter into an upscale, five-star Christmas wonderland. They will be treated to an elegant dinner, festive entertainment, celebrity appearances, photos and gift bags filled with inspirational and meaningful gifts. We would be thrilled to have you partner with us for this special occasion. Go to to find out ways to help!

How can we say Thanks for your support this year?

You provided:

♦ Over $7 million worth of food

♦ 58,000 nights of shelter

♦ Work or recovery programs for 335 men, women and families

Since we can’t thank you enough, we’ll remind you of God’s promise:

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor (Proverbs 22:9).

May He reward you abundantly for your generosity.

Show Some Love

Our Mission
To glorify God through proclaiming and teaching the Gospel, leading people to Christ, developing disciples, and serving the needs of hurting people throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

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