No Hands But Yours

“Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours”
-St Teresa of Ávila

Calling all teens, young adults, families, and parishioners . . .  You and your families are invited to serve the poor, see Jesus face-to-face, and support the homeless in our local community.  View and sign up for service opportunities here.


The “No Hands But Yours” is an original Nativity ministry that serves the poor and homeless in our local community.  Every Sunday after the 7:00 am Mass, a group of Nativity parishioners serve food to individuals standing in four locations in Virginia and two in DC.

We prepare the food we serve and offer much needed supplies.  The food includes sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, bananas, cookies, and more.  The needed supplies include hand sanitizer, toilet paper, clothing, as well as bottled water.  During the colder months we need clean, warm outer clothing such as gloves, socks, hats, scarves, shoes, jackets, sweaters, and shirts (new or used).

Service Opportunites

Get Involved!

If you are feeling called to serve more than once a week (either Sundays or other week days), and would like to be part of this wonderful service ministry, then please contact Manuel Ponciano.  Manuel is the founder of the ministry and serves the poor every day.  He is happy to welcome you and your family into this necessary service.

If you would like to serve the homeless but are not able or comfortable doing so in-person, then you are welcome to help behind the scenes by making sandwiches!  Preparing the food and supplies is a vital role in this ministry.  We also accept any food/adult winter clothing items after morning Mass throughout the week.  For those wishing to lend us a hand in providing needed items, check out our Signup Genius form.  Simply scroll on the form to see what’s needed and when, check the one(s) that work for you, and then hit the orange “Submit and Sign-Up” button at the end of the page.

How can families with children get involved?
Going shopping and then preparing the food at home for those in need is a great act of service for the whole family!  If you and your family cannot serve the food with us on Sundays, then we invite you to take up the vital role of contributing the food and necessary supplies directly to the ministry.

Online Donations
If you would like to donate via the Nativity website donation page, please click here.

Safety Tips

    • There are always a minimum of three adults serving food to the homeless every Sunday.
    • Folks can drive separately, but we would ask you to let us know so we can coordinate days, times, and locations with you.


If you have any questions, or to get involved, please contact

Manuel Ponciano
Text/Call: (202)-262-6659


Joe McKane:
Jim Valentine:
John Rubino:
Jim Housel:


The History of No Hands But Yours

By Manuel Ponciano

The Ministry started feeding daily laborers and homeless people in Shirlington, VA and people sleeping in the subway or Metro vents when one of us was going to work in the mornings to downtown Washington DC.  It continued at his return in 15th St and close to Washington Monument and driving homeless to shelters in NW DC in winter times during weekdays and expanded to Sunday morning visits in Franklin Sq park in 14th and K streets in NW DC as well as coming back to Shirlington VA. With the help of volunteers from The Inter-American Development Bank food was distributed in 14th St and New York Ave NW and Sister Manuela Vencela of the Vedruna Sisters and Sister Eloina who was in charge of vocations in Arlington Diocese, provided donations of Safeway bread for distribution in Virginia and DC and one Nativity Parishioners Julio Varillas got a coffee pot to make coffee instead of purchasing it to save some money.

Years passed and one of us at retirement expanded the Ministry to tent villages in K Street and with the help provided by Joe Mckane continue its expansion to tent villages across Watergate hotel and similar places.  It also included with the help if the Brophy family Fridays and Sundays groceries pickup at Springfield Trader Joe and Panera Rolling Rd with assistance of Mike Arens and Maria Brophy with Safeway pastries and bread and deliveries to food pantry of the Poor Sisters of Saint Joseph in Queen of the Apostles Church in Sano St Alexandria.  In addition sleeping bags and tents were bought or donated (ex. Mike Muller provided sleeping bags and winter clothing from ECHO) and other volunteers as per the suggestion of one of us to Father Martin used a project from RCIA to feed homeless and donated underwear and food once a year in Franklin Park and McPherson Sq with Ron Riggins and Matthew Stockburger. Coffee was stopped for a while due to the pandemic but restarted with Chili donated every Sunday by Mrs. Edith Tapia and coffee urns by John Mckane who included now hot chocolate. The Lord has allowed the Ministry to continue and today all involved follow God in action helping the needy in several places in Northern VA and Washington DC daily. We would like to thank all participants some of them not even mentioned but anonymously giving his time and resources with love in their hearts to help our neighbors get back in their feet again.

While helping with Sunday Suppers one of us once a month with Joyce and John Guliani serving Ice Tea Joe Pettit participated and wrote a bulletin article about this ministry in Nativity Bulletin and included the ministry as part of the Nativity social justice ministries and named it “No Hands But Yours” telling one of us when Pope Francis was elected Pope that the Pope was doing what we were doing and later on John Mckane recruited Jim Valentine who in contact with some of us talked to Father Bob who kindly accepted it as part of the official ministries at Nativity Church and several Nativity Priests had helped including besides Father Martin, Fathers Armando Marsal,  Stephen Vaccaro, Wilson Cedric, Ed Bresnahan and others as well as Nativity Nuns, School and catechist in English and Spanish, Nativity personnel including Anne Benson, Johana Brown, Anne Martin, Rebecca Judge, Jennifer Sturgeon, Mary Castellano, Advent and Thanksgiving event coordinators, Parish officers and secretaries too including spouses of those involved making it a whole Nativity Parish ministry working on it for the honor and glory of God.

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