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 Criminal Justice Ministry

Formerly Catholic Detention Ministry, Catholic Criminal Justice Ministry serves women, men, and young people incarcerated in state and county detention facilities in all of Western Washington.

Volunteer Opportunity:

Lay Pastoral Care Provider
Volunteers are needed to lead or assist with scripture studies and liturgies. People are also needed to write letters, pray with people, and be a general pastoral presence.

For more information please call Erica at 206.382.1477 or e-mail An additional contact is Rosa at 206.382.4868.

Catholic Community Services

Catholic Community Services is the largest private social service 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 253.502.2600.

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 253.502.2767.

The Hospitality Kitchen and Nativity House Drop-In Center

The Hospitality Kitchen is located next door to St. Leo Church. Volunteers are welcome Monday through Friday between 6:30 AM and 12:30 PM, and Tuesday and Wednesday 6:30 AM - 5 PM, extended hours. Serving on average 1,200 meals a day, the Hospitality Kitchen is one of the largest hot meal programs for the homeless community in Washington State.

The Nativity House provides day shelter, meals, community, and personal assistance to people who are homeless. Their services are available to anyone in need. The mission of Nativity House is deeply rooted in the teachings and deeds of Jesus as expressed in the Gospels. Nativity House is located at 2304 S. Jefferson. They are open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 12:00 PM till 4:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM till 4:00 PM.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Line Server
Help serve hot meal portions to Hospitality Kitchen patrons

Food Preparation
Help prepare meal ingredients for breakfast and lunch meal

In-Kind Donation Promotion
Coordinate in-kind donations such as personal hygiene products, socks, and blankets to aid those in need

For more information regarding volunteer needs and opportunities contact Volunteer Coordinator/Program Assistant – Homeless and Adult Services at 253.502.2763.

Phoenix Housing Network

Phoenix Housing Network is located at 7050 S. G. St. in Tacoma. PHN is open seven days a week. PHN 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 at Day Center include office work, laundry, child care, monitors, and the clothing bank.

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

Host Site Volunteer

Day Center Grounds Keeping

Help Move Families into Housing


Light Repairs & Maintenance

Office Assistance/Mailings

Overnight Host

Suited for Success Clothing Boutique

If you would like to learn more about how your church can become a PHN host site, call our Volunteer Coordinator at 253.471.5340 ext. 24.

Volunteer Chore Service

Volunteer Chore Services serves low-income adults with disabilities by providing help with household tasks so that the clients may stay in their own homes. Volunteer Chore Services serves seniors who are 60 or older, and disabled adults who are 18 or older. Services are provided free of charge.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Transportation to and from medical appts. and grocery shopping

Household Chore Worker
Help with caring for the home doing general cleaning and chores of daily living

Helper with Yard Work

Help maintain the outside landscape of the home

For more information please call 253.502.2741.