St. Brigid Fellowship
Team photo taken March 17, 2013
From left: Noelle Ballew, Valerie Yova, Richard Barre, Jennifer Ferraez, Debbie McQuade,
Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges, Nikolai Rice - holding icon of St. Brigid, Rebekah Cash,
Pat Matthews, Obadiah Robinson, Kevin Speier, Corina Berari, Nataliya Tinyayeva
Missing: Duane Franzen, Jill Wallerstedt, Gail Shannon, Susan Barre, Carla Brunstead, Joanne Gish, Carla Harris,
Peggy King, Jane Meyer, Sara Monge, Kate Vander Laan
St. Brigid Fellowship is a ministry of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church and an outreach ministry to homeless men, women and children in our town. Approximately 80 individuals at any one time are homeless in Goleta and Isla Vista. Some sleep on the streets while others live in cars, vans, garages or other sub-standard housing situations.
St. Brigid Fellowship is a unifying force in Isla Vista for the homeless and other people in trouble. We are a group of people working together to solve homelessness one person at a time. To be homeless is to be nameless, avoided, shunned, blamed, hungry and exposed to the elements. Each visitor to St. Brigid's is know by name, has a place to belong, has friends, acceptance, food, clothing and help getting out of any situations they wish to leave. We use an incarnational model, meeting people on the streets as Jesus did, addressing immediate needs and starting relationships that can lead out of homelessness. This is not a one-way ministry, us to them. All of us – housed and unhoused - work together to solve our own problems and the problems of others and the community.
CURRENT SERVICES OFFERED
We currently offer a Monday night dinner served on the patio of St. Michael University Church in Isla Vista. We also offer a mailing address, first aid provided twice a month by Doctors Without Walls, and several times a year we offer warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, rain gear and other survival supplies. On Christmas morning we provide a full breakfast and holiday celebration, including music and gifts for all who attend. The Christmas breakfast is currently being served at St. Michael University Church in Isla Vista.
We willingly share our contacts – the people and organizations we know that can help in requests as simple as seeing a doctor to as complicated as becoming sober and getting an apartment. We have placed a number of people in housing, have a few in long-term sobriety situations, have gotten benefits for those with physical and mental disabilities, and sent a number through detox and into treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. We refer to all the other programs available and attempt not to duplicate services. We have working relationships with Casa Esperanza, County Mental Health, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, the Isla Vista Park and Recreation Department, the Council on Drug and Alcoholism, the Public Health Department, Doctors Without Walls and UCSB's Student Health Outreach Program, among others.
Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges is the priest in charge and Chaplain of St. Brigid Fellowship. He is also a Sheriff's Chaplain, attends community meetings addressing the needs of the poor and homeless, and serves on a variety of non-profit boards. Jennifer Ferraez, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, attends the weekly outreach meal and serves as a resource for anyone who needs help within the social service and mental health arenas. Jill Wallerstedt, former Director of St. Brigid Fellowship and currently on the staff of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission also serves as a resource for referrals to a wide variety of services and agencies, Richard Barre is the Coordinator for the Monday night outreach dinner at St. Michael's Church and currently handles the logistical and administrative responsibilities for the ministry.
Our team also includes several dozen volunteers from our own parish, the University of California Santa Barbara, the community and many local churches. We currently have seven different teams of volunteers who rotate cooking responsibilities for the Monday night outreach dinners.
Monday Night Outreach Dinner
Time: Served at 4:30 p.m. during the winter months.
Served at 5:00 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time
Location: St. Michael University Episcopal Church
Isla Vista, CA 93117
If you have questions about St. Brigid Fellowship, or would like to leave a message for any of our team members, please contact:
St. Athanasius Orthodox Church
805-685-5400 or email@example.com