During this program, participants explore the history, causes and consequences of homelessness, food insecurity, and “forced displacement” (gentrification) in the U.S.

Washington DC flagLocation | Mid-Atlantic, USA
Service Opportunities | Hunger and homelessness street outreach, meal preparation and delivery, shelter upkeep, assistance at pop-up farmers markets in food deserts, sorting and packaging of dried goods at local food banks, walking tours of “forced displacement” (gentrification) in the Shaw neighborhood, speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Cultural and Recreational Highlights | Visit the Smithsonian Museums, explore the monuments on the National Mall, experience D.C.’s diverse neighborhoods, eat at the historic “Ben’s Chili Bowl” on U Street, tour the U.S. Capitol Building and Arlington National Cemetery, and kayak on the Potomac River.


Program Overview

The United States of America is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, yet on any given night, some 500,000 individuals experience homelessness. During this program, participants explore the history, causes and consequences of homelessness, food insecurity, and “forced displacement” (gentrification) in the U.S. through dynamic service-learning at a wide variety of community and non-profit organizations. Through discussions, interactions with speakers and workshops, participants compare the strengths and limitations of emergency food and housing programs, federal food and nutrition assistance and community-based approaches to organizing for change.

Lodging Hostels and Church guest lodging | Food  American fare

Flights Nonstops from nearly everywhere | Visa N

Communication Cell networks, wifi, etc. | Closest Airport DCA, IAD, BWI

Our Community Partners


ONE DC strives to move beyond service provision to build community capacity and leadership so that low-income people of color can act for themselves to create and preserve economic equity and well-being for all. Some of their pillars include the right to wellness, right to housing, people’s platform and community learning. ONE DC hosts walking tours in which long-time DC residents and organizers show groups the physical side of gentrification in the Shaw neighborhood and discuss the effects on the community, along with stories of how ONE DC organizes residents to stand up for community-led, equitable development that addresses food insecurity.

Martha’s Table

Martha’s Table’s programs are divided into three initiatives: healthy start, healthy eating and healthy connections. In addition to emergency food response activities, students will have the chance to participate in a Martha’s Table Joyful Food Market at a local elementary school located in a low-income district. The markets are community events where children and parents shop for free, healthy groceries and participate in hands-on cooking activities designed to get children excited about eating more fruits and vegetables.

So Others Might Eat (SOME)

SOME believes in attacking homelessness holistically and with respect. Volunteers often serve in their soup kitchen, but there are many additional educational opportunities on site. SOME staff includes social workers, family coaches, addiction and detox specialists, physiologists, personal shoppers, land rights lawyers and formerly homeless staff. The SOME team is always available for presentations to educate the public on the many complex facets of addressing homelessness.

Central Union Mission

Central Union Mission operates an emergency food and shelter program and works to transform some of the area’s toughest rehabilitation cases, including drug addicts, gang members, criminal offenders and the chronically homeless. In addition to receiving an information tour of the shelter, volunteers assist in shelter upkeep and meal service.

DC Central Kitchen

DCCK’s mission is to use food to empower people and stimulate economic change. First and foremost, volunteers help DCCK produce more than 5,000 meals every day of the year to source to local shelters, low income neighborhoods and schools. Other DCCK programs include the Job Culinary Training Program, which trains second chance individuals in the culinary arts and places them into fair-wage jobs at a 90% placement rate. Additionally, the DCCK team has spearheaded Healthy Corners, in which a portion of their meals are sold at a discounted rate to stores centrally located in low-income food desert

Thrive DC

Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness in Washington, DC by providing people with a range of services to help stabilize their lives. Thrive DC prides itself on cultivating a community of support among staff, clients and volunteers. Volunteers often serve in their soup kitchen and experience direct
interaction with people experiencing homelessness.

National Coalition for the Homeless

NCH has been in the front line trenches advocating for people living outside for decades. NCH believes that running education programs – like the Faces of the Homeless Speakers Bureau and Urban Plunge Challenge – will create more advocates and eventually catalyze long term change. The NCH team is also
consistently present at state and federal hearings to advocate for long term policy changes to assist people without homes.


Plan a Program


 DCPhoto2  dc2  dc6  


The Basics

Review the Amizade Washington DC Site Handbook.



1. Hard Times Generation, CBS 60 Minutes, 3/11/11. (Segment on homeless families living in budget motels.)

2. Hard Times Generation, CBS 60 Minutes, 11/27/11. (Segment on homeless families living in their vehicles.) Watch here

Stay Engaged!

Meet Steve

Meet Steve Thomas.  Actually, if you have been to  Amizade’s D.C. site, you probably already have.  Take it one step…

Read this →

From Ireland to the U.S.A.

Participants from Northern Ireland in New York City

As I waited in JFK airport for my group to arrive after their long journey from Belfast to New York City, I wondered how I would recognize them as they sauntered through the doorway. Then the light bulb went off, and I realized from this point forward I would know these guys from their strong Northern Irish accents and their gregarious conversations.

Read this →

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Washington, DC

Washington D.C., as we all know, is the capital city of the United States of America, a country that stands for freedom and possibilities, where anything imaginable is doable, a city that, for many, represents the American Dream. Here, Amizade volunteers serve and learn with the homeless and hungry, gaining a new perspective on the Nation’s Capitol.

Read this →

Healthy and Safety

As you or your loved one prepares to serve with Amizade in Washington, DC, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that Amizade has an exceptionally strong safety record and ability to respond to any emerging challenges. We have safely partnered in Washington, DC since 2004.