Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life

Community news




While many of the Washington houses of worship turned to online religious services for safety purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t stop them from continuing to serve their communities.  In late May, seven established religious congregations in the Town of Washington agreed to join together to form the Washington Council of Congregations.  The goal of the Council is to magnify impact and unify forces to better serve their neighbors through a variety of collaborative efforts. The Council includes First Congregational Church of Washington, the Greater Washington Coalition for Jewish Life, New Preston Congregational Church, the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Salem Covenant Church.

Since its formation, the Washington Council of Congregations (WCOC) has worked together on two recurring projects. The first has been three Drive-Thru Food Drives (one in May, June and August), organized each month by a different congregation and all held at the First Congregational Church of Washington.  Look for notices of a fall drive! The Council has donated all donations of shelf stable food cans and boxes, personal care products, cleaning supplies and cash and checks to the Washington/Warren and New Milford Food Banks.  The food banks have experienced a significant increase in need since the spread of Covid-19.  

The second project has been a weekly collection of fresh produce, other market products and monetary donations at the Saturday Farmer’s Market from 10 am to 1 pm at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington Depot.  The congregations take turns hosting the table and then delivering the collection to the Community Culinary School of Northwest CT in New Milford, whose chefs have been using the proceeds to help prepare meals  (on average 650 to 700 meals weekly) for the New Milford Senior Center, New Milford Food Bank, and Our Daily Bread Food Bank. Thank you to the market shoppers and farmers alike who have made generous donations to this effort each week. This collection will continue until the last Farmer’s Market at the Judy Black Park in late October, so there is still plenty of opportunity to support the collection!

The next project of the WCOC will be to host a recurring Red Cross Blood Drive, to be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington.  If you are interested in donating blood or acting as a volunteer host on the first drive on September 11th,  or at future drives, please contact or 860-868-2527.

Together, the WCOC seeks to serve our neighbors through a variety of collaborative efforts.  For more information about the Washington Council of Congregations and how you can get involved, please contact the office of any of the member congregations.

With thanks to Coalition members Ilene Leff and Carolyn Setlow for their great efforts and achievements on this important community project.