About Diakonia

MISSION: "Dedicated to building a foundation for those in crisis to maintain dignity & respect without homelessness while providing hope and enhancing their quality of life."


In 1972, Diakonia was originally established by the Mennonite church in that Mennonite young people volunteered their time living at the current main house site, serving the homeless men, women and families in the Ocean City area.  Diakonia is a Greek word that means “In Service and in Ministry”.

In 1984, Diakonia became a non-profit 501(c)(3) non-denominational organization. 

In 2001, Diakonia replaced the old fishing cottages that were used behind the main house location and built a transitional housing building that provided units for homeless families and added capacity to serve more people.  This project was featured in Town of Ocean City All American City Award.

In 2009, Diakonia started the Diakonia Thrift Store to sell in-kind donations to provide funds for the gap in services that the grants did not fund.  This was also another way that our guests and those in need could get vouchers to shop for free for needed items; clothing, shoes, furniture when finding housing, etc. 

Diakonia continues to operate these two buildings in West Ocean City, Maryland providing; emergency housing, emergency food assistance, homeless prevention, housing assistance, veteran services, and case management.  Along with these services, in 2009, the Diakonia Thrift Store was started to help fund the program services that Diakonia provides.

Diakonia provides immediate response to basic needs; housing, food, and clothing.  Diakonia provides assessment and case management services helping with; identifying, addressing, and helping find resources to the root causes of homelessness through a variety of programs and initiatives.

For those who are in danger of becoming homeless, for whatever reason, Diakonia offers case management, guidance and assistance in accessing a wide variety of support programs and, where necessary and appropriate, financial assistance for certain housing-related costs.

For those who are homeless, Diakonia offers a roof over their heads and much more.  Our trained and dedicated staff provides support in addressing the issues that may have contributed to homelessness in the first place.  Then when they are ready to leave Diakonia and move to permanent housing, Diakonia provides assistance in making the transition; providing furniture, in-kind donations, as well as continued support.

Diakonia operates an Emergency Food Pantry that provides food assistance to hundreds of needy families, over 300 families every month for the tri-county area. 

The scope and complexity of issues confronting many of Diakonia’s guests requires intensive case management and support by Diakonia staff, as well as connection with other area organizations.  

Diakonia is able to make these program services available due to the support received from; individuals, local civic organizations, churches, Foundations, State and Federal grants for specific programs, local governments, and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. 

We also work closely with the Worcester County Health Departments, and Social Services, as well as local and regional voluntary organizations to help provide necessary services to our guests. 

As of Feb. 2020, Diakonia increased our total overnight capacity of our two buildings to up to 50 persons; the configuration/capacity can vary depending on the number in families served and men and women in residence.  Despite the increase, there continues to be a need to increase capacity in some way to serve more homeless men and families.

Diakonia continues to operate the Diakonia Thrift Store whereby in-kind donations from the community are sold and those proceeds from the thrift shop contribute substantially to our daily operations.  Diakonia provides a voucher system for the local agencies to use for their clients and our guests moving out of shelter to shop for free for needed items; clothing, shoes, household needs, and furniture upon moving into more permanent housing.

Volunteers are the heart of Diakonia, it is how Diakonia started and without our volunteers Diakonia could not continue from serving on the Board of Directors to helping at our pantry and thrift store.  So we still need you! If you are interested in volunteering, please see our volunteer page.