The Social Justice Commission

The mission of the Social Justice Commission - rooted in Catholic social teaching and informed by the larger mission of St. Leo as a Jesuit parish - is to live out the Gospel mandate to help realize God’s reign of peace and justice.

As a Commission we:

  • Educate the parish community on issues of social justice and environmental stewardship
  • Engage in the work of social justice through -
  • The promotion of just legislative/policy development
  • The promotion and action of civil engagement on behalf of vulnerable and exploited populations
  • Develop programs and collaborative relationships to promote positive social change and sustainable living in a just world
  • Support direct services to those in need via St. Leo Emergency Services

If you are interested in being a part of St. Leo’s Social Justice Commission please contact Rick Samyn at 253.272.5136 ext. 102 or

Social Justice Ministries

St. Leo's Emergency Services

Emergency Services (E-Services) provides social services from basic services for the homeless to homelessness prevention with a focus on employment search, employment retention, and stable housing. We assist consumers of homeless services and work release Department of Correction and underemployed individuals who are prepared to engage in employment readiness programming, employment search, and full employment. The program identifies and helps eliminate barriers to training, employment, and employment retention. We coordinate services with other providers to maximize effectiveness and focus on problem-solving. E-Services continually seek donations of toiletry/personal hygiene items such as socks, underwear for men and women, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

Volunteer Opportunities (As available positions open)

Front Desk Receptionist:
Assisting with directing church business to appropriate staff
Managing phone messages
Assisting E-Services clients with direct service assistance or securing referral information

E-Service Sponsor/Organizer:
Organizing family or group collection of in-kind donations including toiletries, socks, underwear, warm blankets, and caps/gloves/coats for inclement weather

For more information or to become involved in E-Services please contact Rick Samyn at 253.272.5136 ext. 102 or

The Sandwich Brigade

The Sandwich Brigade is made up of teams of at least four people who supply sandwich ingredients and make sandwiches that Operation Keep ‘em Warm & Fed distributes to the homeless. This is a monthly commitment and is a great project for families. Sandwich drop-offs are on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.

Volunteer Opportunities

Sandwich Makers
Individuals and/or groups to purchase sandwich fixings and prepare individually-wrapped sandwiches to be delivered to the church rectory

For more information please contact Rick Samyn at 253.272.5136 ext. 102 or

Guadalupe House: The Tacoma Catholic Worker

The Guadalupe House provides transitional housing and food for homeless single adults in the tradition of Dorothy Day. Catholic Workers live in community with their homeless guests, sharing meals and chores. They also invite people on the streets to take showers, use the phone, and receive mail at the main house, 1417 South G Street, Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 2 PM. The Catholic Worker community also works on local, national, and international issues that impact the poor. On Tuesdays at 5:30 PM, people of all walks of life come together for a community meal and liturgy.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Cook for community meals

Hospitality (Greeter)
Welcome and direct guests at Guadalupe House
Help answer the door during shower times, help serve and greet guests (especially for Tuesday liturgy)

Repair person
Minor house repairs
Do simple repairs, redecorate a bedroom, etc.
Coordinate in-kind donation drives

Guadalupe House always needs donations of new or used socks, razors, towels, washcloths, underwear, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent, and fresh dairy and meat products.

For more information or to receive their newsletter, call the Worker at 253.590.4659 (Monday through Friday, between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM) or stop by for Tuesday’s liturgy.

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization committed to building simple, decent housing with the poor at no interest and for no profit. The Tacoma/Pierce County chapter currently is building sixteen houses a year, and the St. Leo community shares in the volunteer labor by having two Saturday workdays a year - one in the fall and one in the spring.

Volunteer Opportunities:


For more information please contact the Habitat for Humanity office at 253.627.5626.

L’Arche Tahoma Hope

L’Arche Tahoma Hope is a community inspired by the Gospel values of the Beatitudes. The community is comprised of women and men, married and single, religious and lay, who have chosen to share life with people with developmental disabilities. L’Arche has four homes; the Farm and Gardens; and Noah’s Workshop, a day program. Volunteers are needed at the Farm and Gardens and at Noah’s Workshop.

Volunteer Opportunities:

L’Arche Farm Volunteer
Work at the Farm and Gardens from 9 AM to 3:30 PM Monday through Friday with core members of L’Arche

Crafter at Noah’s Workshop
Doing crafts, writing letters, having coffee, or going on outings from 10 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday. (For more information please call Sue at 253.537.7540.)

House Volunteer
People are also welcome to volunteer in the homes - become a friend, prepare a meal, play a game, go for walks, go shopping at the mall, take a ferry ride, go to a movie, etc.

For more information or to volunteer please call the L’Arche office at 253.535.3178 or visit

The L'Honey Program

L’Honey is a collaborative venture between St. Leo Parish and L’Arche Farm that promotes sustainable beekeeping and hive product development that supports the social business model. We operate four small apiary sites and produce our own hive products. Our focus is on education, care for the environment, and the inclusion of vulnerable adults in business and agricultural activities.

Volunteer Opportunities:

During the honeybee season (June through September) work with the beekeeper in hive management

Bee Hive Product Making
Work with beekeeper, volunteers, youth, and L’Arche core and staff in developing and creating products from our hive for L’Arche market sales

(NOTE) The L’Honey Beekeeper is willing to work with educators and student groups in the promotion of sustainable beekeeping and caring for our environment.

For more information on the L’Honey Program please contact Rick Samyn at 253.272.5136 ext. 102 or

Neighborhood Clinic

The Neighborhood Clinic is grounded in the belief that healing occurs where physical and medical care is accompanied by consistent emotional support and a regard for the whole person. In response to the call of the Spirit, the clinic serves patients who cannot afford or lack access to regular medical care. Clinic hours are on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 PM to 8 PM. First come, first served. Line up begins at 4:00 PM

Volunteer Opportunities:

Medical Professionals
Nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, counselors, and social workers are needed.

For more information please contact Kelsey Wardlow at 253.627.6353 email

Noah’s Pet Project

The mission of Noah’s Pet Project is to provide preventative and/or occasional health care for pets of low income and elderly residents of Tacoma and Pierce County, to help control pet overpopulation, and to provide education to our clients. We are a nonprofit clinic run completely by volunteers with a budget consisting of donations.

The clinic is held on the second Sunday of each month at Clip-n-Clean Dog Daycare at 6th and North Oaks St. in Tacoma, from noon to 2:00 PM (doors open at 9 AM). Services are limited and you may be asked to present proof of low income/elderly status.

For more information or ways to volunteer/help, please visit our website at

Operation Keep ‘Em Warm and Fed

Operation Keep ‘Em Warm and Fed provides blankets, food, coffee, and vitamins to the indigent, the homeless, and those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction in Tacoma’s inner city. They serve 60 to 80 people a day, and hope to expand the service by getting more community members involved and offering boiled eggs, more nutritious food, and fellowship. Operation Keep’ Em Warm and Fed provides opportunities to both those in need and those who don’t know how they can help. Donations of cups, spoons, bowls, eggs, pastries, health bars, vitamins, coffee, sugar, cream, the utensils to prepare those things, and blankets are needed.

Volunteer opportunities:

Sandwich Makers
Groups or individuals willing to make sandwiches to be delivered to the rectory for street distribution on Tuesday and Thursday.

Short order cooks
To coordinate with Michael Krist-Sterbick the preparation of food items that are nutritious but manageable for street distribution to the homeless.

Hospitality Provider
To work with Michael and other volunteers in the distribution of food and to offer kindness and fellowship to those out on the streets. Also, to seek resources and sponsors for the ministry.

For more information please contact Michael Krist-Sterbick at 253.272.5804.

Catholic Community Services

Catholic Community Services is the largest private human services agency in Western Washington, serving over 50,000 people each year. Ninety percent of those served are at or below the poverty level. For more information please visit their website at:, or call the CCSWW Tahoma Center at 253.383.3697.

Foster Parents

CCS is always looking for foster parents and respite foster parents. Foster parents and respite foster parents will receive stipends. Spanish speakers are needed. Call 253.502.2745. Para información específica del Programa Internacional de Cuidado de Crianza llame al 253.502.2663.

The new Nativity House

Beginning in January 2015, the services provided by the Hospitality Kitchen and Nativity House will be provided in the new Nativity House located at the south end of St. Leo Church parking lot. Volunteers are welcome seven days a week between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM, including weekends and holidays. By combining Nativity House, Hospitality Kitchen and Tacoma Avenue Shelter, and 50 units of permanent housing on one site, CCS will manage the largest, most comprehensive and compassionate outreach to people experiencing homelessness in the Greater Tacoma area. Volunteer Opportunities:

Line Server - Help serve hot meals to guests.

Food Preparation - Help prepare meals.

In-Kind Donation processing and distribution –
Help process and distribute in-kind donations such as personal hygiene products, toiletries, socks, and blankets to aid those in need.

For more information on pastoral care volunteer needs and opportunities, contact Volunteer Coordinator – Homeless Adult Services at 253.365.4111.

Family Housing Network

Family Housing Network is located at 5050 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma. FHN is open seven days a week. FHN empowers homeless and at-risk families to achieve and maintain permanent housing by helping them gain skills and overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. Volunteer opportunities include shelter host, office work, laundry, and child care.

Volunteer Opportunities:(2,000 volunteers participate in Family Housing Network programs each year)

Host Site Volunteer

Overnight Host


Help Move Families into Housing


Light Repairs & Maintenance

Office Assistance/Mailings

If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities, call our Volunteer Coordinator at 253.471.5340 ext. 24.

Volunteer Services

Volunteer Chore Services assists low-income elders and adults with disabilities by providing volunteers to help with household tasks so that clients may stay in their own homes. Volunteer Chore Services serves elders ages 60 or older, and adults with disabilities over 18. Services are provided free of charge. Volunteer Opportunities:

Drivers: Transportation to and from medical appts., and grocery shopping.

Household Helper: Assist the client in maintaining home and doing general cleaning laundry and other tasks.

Yard Care Helper: Help maintain yard around client's home.

Pet Care: Take Pet for a walk, to the vet, or feed while senior is not at home.

For more information please call 253.502.2741.