On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis declared a Holy Year of Mercy, and called on the faithful to live this year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ In honor of the Holy Year of Mercy, the Saint Bede Outreach Center was renamed the Williamsburg House of Mercy and incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.
In 1979, Sister Berenice Eltz of the Sisters of Mercy left teaching at Walsingham Academy and entered into social ministry at Saint Bede Catholic Church. Often called the “Mother Teresa of Williamsburg,” Sister Berenice touched the lives of countless souls in the Williamsburg community. Saint Bede’s social ministries have seen many faces and changes over the years, but Sister Berenice’s legacy of mercy and service to the poor remains.
Williamsburg House of Mercy is our area’s only care center for the homeless. Dedicated and trained staff and volunteers work daily to meet the needs of the homeless and poor in our community through financial assistance, permanent housing assistance, access to medical care and mental health services, food, transportation, and so much more.
Centrally located in downtown Williamsburg, our proximity to area transportation makes us uniquely accessible to the unsheltered homeless in the community. As Williamsburg House of Mercy became known throughout the homeless community as a safe and welcoming place to receive assistance, we began to see a steady increase in the number of homeless men, women, and families in need of a warm meal, a place to shower, and a place of respite.
We now have the unique opportunity to engage the area homeless in targeted way to provide them with supportive services, access to medical and mental health services, access to computers and jobs, and assistance with housing. Once housed, they are case managed by our Mercy Housing Office until they achieve stability.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Williamsburg House of Mercy, we have opportunities to serve in almost any area. We are currently recruiting for client advocates, food pantry volunteers, housing office assistants, and people to serve in our Make a House a Home ministry. If you are interested in serving in any capacity or just want to talk about your ideas to serve the homeless, contact us at [email protected].