Now supported by the Diocese of Delaware as well, this organization had its birth at St. Martha’s over 20 years ago. The Rev. Jim Lewis and a few parishioners started a Bible Study at Sussex Correctional Institution to provide spiritual support and encouragement to those incarcerated. Realizing the need to help those inmates being released, parishioners founded The Way Home, which helps them find shelter, clothing, food, and jobs.
St. Martha’s has supported Operation SEAs the Day since its inception in 2013. This program provides 25 Wounded Warriors and their families a free week of vacation and healing in Bethany Beach each September. In addition to sponsoring an annual musical fundraising event, over a dozen St. Martha’s families host Wounded Warrior families, take them on tours of the area, and provide logistical support.
Since 2014 quilters from St. Martha’s have crafted Quilts of Valor every year for families attending the Operation SEAs the Day Warrior Family Beach Week. Our group has increased in size and in the number of quilts produced annually so they can support the National Quilt of Valor Foundation by presenting quilts to Veterans in our parish and community.
This unique transitional housing facility feeds and provides emotional and vocational counseling to up to 60 male and 12 female Veterans in temporary distress. St. Martha’s funds transportation to assist veterans who are working toward independent living to access medical services, job interviews, and other services.
One of the AA groups sponsored by St. Martha’s conducts meetings on site. Our behind the scenes work has contributed to Delaware having one of the lowest veteran homeless rates in the United States.
Annually, St. Martha’s parishioners prepare Christmas Card packets for almost 200 very elderly retired Veterans in this state-run assisted living home enabling those residents to write and mail Christmas and birthday cards to their friends and families.
Delaware’s National Guard has one of the highest deployment rates in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks because of its special ground and air skills. Annually, the NGYF hosts a Youth Camp at the National GUard facility in Bethany Beach for all National Guard children, especially those from families in which a family member is deployed. St. Martha’s made its first donation to the NGYF in 2019 to help modernize an old, unsafe playground. We are currently examining other ways to support this camp.
Several parishioners mentor Veterans who have become involved with the state legal system helping them complete treatment programs and regain the self-confidence they need to return, with dignity, to independent living.