Help Our Neighbors in Public Housing

Little Lights Needs Your Support

Little Lights is an award-winning nonprofit right here in Capitol Hill serving some of our most vulnerable residents living in public housing. All funds help to empower children, youth, and families right in our own community. Photo: Courtesy Little Lights Urban Ministries

Mayor Bowser has announced that schools will be closed until at least May 15. As you know, those living in poverty are experiencing the greatest vulnerability during the pandemic.

Many of our residents living in public housing work as “essential workers” working as bus drivers, grocery workers, security, and maintenance.

Many are also unemployed or underemployed and lack resources to access distance education, high speed internet, and adequate food with schools being out.

Here is what Little Lights is providing consistently at Potomac Gardens and Hopkins public housing in Capitol Hill:

Academic Support

  • We are creating and distributing weekly individualized academic work packets to students. They can return the packets to receive prizes. The worksheets are passed out safely through social distancing and returned the same way. Most of our students do not have high-speed internet at home. For those that do, we give access to our online curriculum.
  • We are starting to help residents to access cost-effective internet access.
  • We are distributing reading level specific printable books for all of our students.
  • We have also started to tutor virtually using Zoom. Even though most of our families don’t have high-speed internet, we are using Zoom with students with smartphones to continue academic support at this time.
  • For students who cannot participate in Zoom Heroes, we are providing academic support using facetime, phone
  • We are also partnering with their local schools to help pass out their school packets
  • Distributing Chrome laptops so students can participate in Zoom tutoring

Emergency Food Distribution and Critical Resources

  • We are distributing daily meals to students and families through a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank. These are grab and go lunches.
  • We are collecting donations of cleaning products, toilet paper, and non-perishable groceries for weekly distribution for our community.
  • We are also passing out updated resource sheets every week and also using mass texting technology to spread the word.
  • We are providing employment to public housing residents full and part time through our distribution program as well as our landscaping social enterprise, the Clean Green Team.
  • Distributing masks donated by supporters and volunteers

Social & Emotional Support

We are doing phone and Zoom check-ins with all of our students and families to do physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness checks.

Clean Green Team & Family Center Operations

  • Our landscaping social enterprise, the Clean Green Team, is considered essential service and is continuing to work using social distancing and safety protocols.
  • Our Family Center is also still distributing free diapers to underserved families with infants as well as providing supplies and non-perishable groceries once a week.

If you would like to help us, Little Lights is currently providing emergency distribution of non-perishable food, household goods, and educational items to youth, families, and adults at Potomac Gardens (Ward 6), Hopkins (Ward 6), and Benning Terrace (Ward 7) public housing.  Little Lights is implementing safety protocols to minimize potential hazards regarding storage and distribution of goods to our residents.

There are three ways to send food/supplies… 

  • Visit our Amazon Wishlist and send items to Mary Park at 1984 Retta Gilliam Court, SE, Washington, DC 20020.
  • Pick up one or more of the following items at a local store (or purchase or make masks) and contact Mary Park at [email protected] to schedule a time to drop items off at our main center (760 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003).  You will be dropping off at the front porch of the Center to eliminate social contact, but a scheduled time needs to be arranged between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, during the weekday.
    • Soap (bar or liquid) 
    • Hand sanitizer 
    • Lysol and other disinfecting products/wipes 
    • Lotion
    • Gloves
    • Toilet paper 
    • Non-perishable food (pasta, rice, canned goods, etc.)
    • Paper towels 
    • Masks
  • Make a financial contribution to support staff pay/salary as they work to distribute the supplies: 

Thanks again to all those who have contributed.