updated shane headshot

Interfaith Works CEO Shane Rock

The Interfaith Clothing Center is a beehive of activity on a Saturday morning. With so many people intersecting for different reasons, it can provide a window into the many lives touched by our work: those who need help and those who provide it.

On a recent Saturday, our Director of Family Services Monica Barberis‑Youngwas at the center, helping individuals and families shop while also helping train volunteers from a church youth group. She met a young man from Guatemala. Actually, he isnʹt a man. He is 14 ‑ just a child. He told her his story: making a dangerous 24‑day journey along with a young nephew across many miles, seeking safety and a better way of life. He now is living with his older sister, and he came to the ICC for clothing and help.

Not far away from him at the ICC was another teenager, a volunteer about the same age as the boy. She came for a different reason ‑ to make a difference. When Monica showed the youth group around, the young girlʹs eyes filled with tears. Why so sad? Monica asked. The girl hesitated. Then she quietly said, ʺI see the lady who cleans my house shopping here.ʺ Talk about teachable moments.

While the folks who line up to shop for free at the ICC may seem invisible or, for those like the young man of uncertain status, may want to be invisible at times, these shoppers are part of our community. That is what our young volunteer discovered, and we must never forget. They are hard‑working people who make up the varied fabric of our county, and come to us because, at this point in their lives, they find they cannot survive without help.

Our doors are open to them, as they are to the men and women living on the streets who come to our Community Vision facility in Silver Spring for safety when arctic winds blow, and to the laid‑off moms and dads who come to us for emergency help fearing their families will be evicted.

And they are are open to you. Whether you need help or want to offer it, please walk through our doors any time. We will be happy to see you.