Charleston Club’s Edwards Project
The Edwards Project is named after Eric Paul Edwards and his wife of forty-five (45) years, Marjorie Brooks Edwards. Eric and Marge were both charter members of the Charleston Club, which started on Saturday, July 10, 1948. Eric P. Edwards was born and reared in Charleston; he graduated from Avery Institute in the mid-1930s. In the early 1940s while an undergraduate at Howard University, he met fellow student, Marjorie Brooks from Cumberland, Maryland. In 1943 they married and had two children, Yvonne Paula Edwards, and Eric Brooks Edwards. Eric, Sr. became a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and Marge became “the teacher’s teacher” in the Washington school system. Eric and Marge were married for forty-five years before his untimely death in 1989. Marge continued her participation in the Club until she died in September 2002.
After Eric’s death, Marge organized The Edwards Project Committee within the Charleston Club. The purpose of the standing committee was and still is to collect funds, clothing, and non-perishables for charitable organizations; namely, Martha’s Table and So Others May Eat (SOME). Eric was a very ‘socially conscious” man who cared greatly about those less fortunate. He was always willing to lend a “helping hand.” Today, the Club continues its charitable efforts through the Edwards Project, and the Edwards descendants make generous annual contributions to the Edwards Project Fund.
SOME (So Others Might Eat): SOME was founded by Father Horace McKenna and an interfaith group of priests, ministers, and lay persons in 1970 to help the poor and destitute of the city. The first meals were served out of the basement of St. Aloysius Church near North Capitol Street, in Northwest Washington. When the number of homeless and poor coming to this soup kitchen grew, the operation moved to 71 O Street, NW, where it remains; however, the service has expanded to more than a dozen facilities and locations throughout the city. SOME is best known for its generous food distribution, serving more than 900 meals each day with the help of a large network of community volunteers from local churches, synagogues, and civic organizations. However, through the years, SOME has evolved into a comprehensive social service agency with a two-fold mission: to meet people’s immediate needs and to help them overcome the barriers that keep them homeless and destitute. SOME aims to empower the poor by helping people to help themselves out of homelessness and poverty with education, life skills, job training, counseling, case management, rehabilitative services, and community development.
Today, SOME continues to expand its services to include Behavioral and Health Services as well as Addiction Recovery and Transitional Housing programs. SOME also tries to redress the severe lack of Affordable Housing in the District and offers job training to help clients earn a living wage. Targeted support service is also provided to the elderly.
Martha’s Table: Founded in 1980 and named for Martha of the New Testament, who cooked for Jesus, the Christ. Martha’s Table is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping the poor. It provides food and clothing to some of the Washington area’s large homeless population. Martha’s Table is a volunteer-based charitable organization with a lot of heart. Every afternoon, the kitchen at Martha’s Table bubbles with activity as volunteers from throughout the community come together to touch the lives of those less fortune. “The volunteers we have here at Martha’s Table are of all ages, of all backgrounds and of all professional experiences. They are children as young as, sometimes three years old, and as old as 92 years old. Martha’s Table has over 8,000 volunteers that come there annually. Four thousand of those come on a regular basis and the food and services could not be provided without them. There’s no way,” said a Martha’s Table official.