Volunteers Packing Food



The Outreach Ministry sends God's love out into the community and the world. The ministry is comprised of several community programs that are supported by A&HT. For any questions or for more information about a particular program, please contact the outreach member in charge of that program.


Community Programs

Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, 420 Wyoming Avenue, Lockland
A&HT is a founding supporter of this ministry, which has grown into a lifeline for 12 zip codes in the Mill Creek Valley. It provides food, household essentials, and emergency assistance, connecting people to essential social services and the skills and mutual support to build the futures they want. Current volunteer roles are limited for safety reasons, but absolutely vital. Contact Melissa Monich at monich.melissa@gmail.com for more information.
Tikkun Farm, 7941 Elizabeth Street, Mt. Healthy
A thriving hub where people of all backgrounds from urban teens to Bhutanese refugees come together to garden, prepare food, and grow in physical and emotional wholeness. Many roles available from planning logistics to chopping ingredients at home for community crockpot meals. Contact Robyn Gibboney at robyn.gibboney@gmail.com for more information.

Habitat for Humanity + HOPE Coalition
The Episcopal team of Habitat of Greater Cincinnati, will welcome A&HT volunteers for a new build this summer at 1803 Baymiller Street near Findlay Market in the West End. To get in shape, sign up for Rock the Block on April 10 to work in small, socially distanced groups on projects throughout Greater Cincinnati. Click here to volunteer at a work site. Email Christina Brandewie at cabbrandewie@gmail.com if you can help organize and deliver lunches to volunteers.
Heartfelt Tidbits
Heartfelt Tidbits is an extraordinary network of volunteers inspired by Wyoming resident Sheryl Rajbhandari to welcome immigrant families to Greater Cincinnati and help them navigate a new culture, language, schools, jobs, and friendships. COVID-safe volunteer opportunities include Virtual Buddies (weekly conversations with a school child), tutoring adults in English, or helping people prepare for their citizenship exams. Sign up here.
Matthew 25 Ministries
M25M is our major way of supporting Sustainable Development Goals projects abroad. It is a logistical miracle, and a joy to be part of it. A&HT’s volunteer day is the third Wednesday of the month. Learn more about volunteering and the COVID safety protocols, including the need to pre-register. Contact Mary Melville at marymmelville@gmail.com for more information.
St. Paul Village
St. Paul Village is one of Episcopal Retirement Services’ affordable senior housing communities, and our parish volunteers have a monthly commitment of serving lunch, organizing games or entertainment, and conversing with the residents. Volunteers sometimes also serve at monthly parties for residents which can include bingo and hilarious contests, or special event parties such as a Halloween Costume Party or a “Senior” Prom. St. Paul Village is in Madisonville and Wyoming parishioners usually carpool there. Contact Noel Horne at anghorne@aol.com or Kathy Kessler at kak318@aol.com for more information.
Mill Creek Valley
As one of four Episcopal congregations near the Mill Creek, we are teaming up with Lincoln Heights parents to document the environmental dangers (lead dust, toxic sound) created by 300 days a year of gunfire on the Cincinnati Police Firing Range as the stakeholder municipalities continue negotiations to implement their commitment to relocate it. We’ll keep you posted on opportunities to learn and help build safe and healthy ground. Contact Ariel Miller at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com for more information.


Current Outreach Events

St. Paul Village

Volunteer Opportunities with Low-Income Seniors

Since 2013, we at A&HT have provided volunteer support for the mission of Episcopal Retirement Services in creating an enriched quality of life for the low-income senior residents at St. Paul Village in Madisonville. Our normal monthly commitment is serving lunch, organizing games or entertainment, and conversing with the residents. Sometimes we are called upon to assist with special events such as a Halloween Costume Party or a “Senior” Prom. COVID-19 disrupted this volunteer ministry following our early March 2020 visit.

Happily, St. Paul Village is opening up for visitors again and so, starting Tuesday, August 3rd, we are renewing our monthly volunteer-support commitment. Generally, our stint at St. Paul Village runs from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm, and we carpool from A&HT for those volunteers who find this convenient. In advance of each monthly commitment, once we learn the planned activity and how many volunteers are needed, we poll our established list of volunteers to see who is available.

More volunteers are always welcome. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, or if you would like more information, please contact Noel Horne [anghorne@aol.com] or Kathy Kessler [kak318@aol.com].

Valley Interfaith Van Blessing 1.jpg

Valley Interfaith Refrigerated Van

The Van was Blessed & Added to the Fleet!


For four years it's been a dream to add a refrigerated van to the food rescue ability for Valley Interfaith. Grants were written and denied, and in the first two years, our budget and management processes were such that we could not find space and freedom to be assured our basic services were safe.

With the onset of COVID and a revitalized Finance Committee building a stronger foundation for Valley Interfaith; the effort to push the 'dream' for a van was brought to the forefront by John Keuffer, Executive Director.

After a series of email blasts about the idea, two people stepped forward with the crazy idea to champion the effort to raise the funds and make this happen. Those two people were Ariel Miller and Melissa Monich. Both are servants in the cause at Ascension & Holy Trinity. They asked John to present and they had an anonymous donor who was willing to kick off the effort with a $5,000 challenge.

With that lead-off - the group quickly raised over $54,000 and the dream became reality. Ariel and Melissa reached out to all of the faith-based congregations in our area and sought their involvement and support. They were the frontline drivers of this effort and without them and their efforts, this may still be a dream. As it's been said, it's not the leader who makes change, it's the first followers.


Lincoln Heights Movement

Update on the Cincinnati Police Firing Range

As I’ve reported previously, parents in Lincoln Heights have been working with great skill and determination towards the goal of getting the City of Cincinnati to move its police firing range. This firing range abuts residential areas with multifamily apartments, single-family homes, and playgrounds, exposing children to gunfire and police loudspeakers for hours every day, over 300 days a year. Initial sound sampling by UC audiology professor Brian Earl shows sound exposure at levels associated with an elevated risk of chronic stress, with serious implications for children’s neurological and cardiovascular health.

The Lincoln Heights parents’ nonprofit, The Heights Movement (THM), won a unanimous vote by the Hamilton County Commissioners endorsing the move. The County offered over a year ago to let the Cincinnati Police move their firearms training to the county’s firing range in Colerain, far from any residential area. The Commissioners have recently approved $5 million from the County’s American Rescue Plan funding to help with the costs of relocating the firing range. But, Cincinnati City Council has still not acted, despite the Cincinnati Police testifying in October that they would not oppose the move.

The four Episcopal congregations of the Mill Creek Valley teamed up with THM to apply for one of the environmental justice grants awarded this summer by the Presiding Bishop’s office. We asked for funds to help pay for a rigorous evaluation of the environmental hazards posed by the firing range and to help implement the Heights Movement’s strategy to equip children for resilience. This includes teaching families and youth how to break the chronic traumatic stress cycle of fight-or-flight, rage, and fear. Our grant proposal was turned down in July. We still don’t have an explanation - we think the likely reason was the expense of the toxicological testing - but I’ve got encouraging news to share about the next steps.

The biggest expense in the grant request was for lab analysis to check for lead and other heavy metals in 86 soil samples to be taken in Lincoln Heights and Woodlawn. Firing bullets vaporizes toxic metals. Initial surface samples of soil by a team from UC in May identified only a few hot spots of lead, and our team toxicologist, Dr. Chip Carson, advised us in late July that sound exposures are the greater concern. We will ask Dr. Earl to carry out the time-weighted average sound testing he offered to do pro bono and to correlate the results with epidemiological studies on the impact of traumatic, high-decibel sounds on children’s mental and physical health. This is especially important in light of the crisis in police-community relations resulting from police shooting unarmed black people.

In meetings with Dr. Carson, Carlton Collins of THM, and St. Simon’s Senior Warden LaVerne Mitchell, (who serves on Lincoln Heights Village Council and has been both Mayor and City Manager of Lincoln Heights), we’ve agreed to go ahead with the other elements of the collaboration:

• Organizing advocacy with Cincinnati City Council by Episcopalians who live in the city.

• A survey of parents, coaches, and teachers to learn their concerns about the health of Lincoln Heights children and youth (budget: $3,750).

• Mental health first aid training, tailored to these concerns, for 100 adults and high school students (budget: $7,500).

• A summer Peace Camp at St. Monica’s Center in 2022 to build children’s skills for emotional self-care and resilience (budget: $9,550).

The four congregations – St. Simon’s, Christ Church, A&HT, and the Sisters of the Transfiguration – have already collectively pledged $2,000 in 2021 and $2,000 in 2022 for this project. We will be asking them to double that amount, and we will also apply to the Diocese’s Reparation Task Force, as well as other Diocesan funders, to cover the rest.

In addition, we’ve agreed with THM to implement the shared discernment we planned as part of the project. This is a real opportunity to carry out the racial reconciliation practices of Becoming Beloved Community which we started learning in 2019 with St. Simon’s, Christ Church Glendale, the Sisters, and St. Barnabas, Montgomery. These practices are: telling the truth (learning the impact of the firing range), proclaiming the dream (health and wellbeing for children), repairing the breach (working to move the range and build resilience in the children exposed to the harm), and practicing the way (showing up as committed neighbors). Here are the specific ways we want to show up and learn:

• Participate in Lincoln Heights’ 75th anniversary to learn the proud history of this leading Black municipality.

• Make a pilgrimage to the firing range in October to hear the sounds and hear from the community about the impact.

• Attend a Town Hall Meeting at St. Monica’s in January to learn the results and health implications of the sound study and share updates on the advocacy to move the firing range.

• Hold Pentecost convocations in June and September of 2022 with our congregations and the Heights Movement – to discern what we’ve learned together and what we need to do next.

Please email me if you’d like to know more. I will keep you posted on our project and the specific dates we’re invited to join our neighbors in Lincoln Heights to learn and to act.

Ariel Miller, Outreach Co-Chair