I’m Steve Bucci, Chairperson of The Community Ministries Committee, formerly The Outreach Committee. We are probably the easiest group to connect to Stewardship. Much of what we do is allocating funds to support vetted causes and organizations which are involved with our mission ofhelping people in need. Our goal has always been to focus on children, the hungry, and the homeless. We also seek to foster support within the congregation to get people involved in these many opportunities.
A list of these organizations and opportunities is attached to this message. I encourage you to check out their websites and focus on any which may interest you. If you have any questions, please contact me or a member of the committee.
The reason for these series of talks has been to invite the congregation to envision Stewardship as a year-round activity and not something that occurs one month a year. While we do work from a budget, it is a relatively small one and a very small percentage of the total budget. So, events like this year’s Neighbor to Neighbor campaign enabled us to broaden our support of three of our very important core organizations: Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, Help Hub, and Nourish NC.
While we are very dependent on money, we also seek out opportunities which allow us to have people get involved in activities through donations of time, goods and supplies, and volunteer services. Examples of some of these opportunities are: snacks, school supplies and teacher support for Snipes Academy, our adopted elementary school just around the corner and down the street; The Angel Tree; food drives; food-packing events for Nourish NC; the Little Red Wagon for Mother Hubbard’s; the Blessing Box; and use of our gym for Coach Thomas and the neighborhood kids.
Although many things have slowed down or even stopped in 2021, the needs of our community have not! We have continued to attempt to support the needy in as many ways as possible. In addition to the Neighbor to Neighbor funds, we have also been able to distribute financial grants to many of our supported organizations so far this year. Some of these are: Good Shepherd, 2Share, Snipes, Coach Thomas, Episcopal Farm Workers, and NHC Humane Society.
We have also been planning for the remainder of 2021. In addition to continuing our support for the organizations I’ve already mentioned, we hope to be reaching out to V.O.Y.A.G.E., Dreams of Wilmington, Episcopal Navajo Lands, Episcopal Farm Workers, Family Promise, and Nourish NC through their Back Buddies program which supplies food to children for nights and weekends. St. Paul’s has been supporting a number of Snipe’s children through this program for years.
For the last few years, we have sponsored 20+ children in the program. The money for this came mostly from the hard work of St. Agnes and many other parishioners through the Belk’s Charity drives. However, with the sale of Belk’s to new owners, Covid-19, and Belk’s entering Chapter 11, no one knows when or if these charity events will be held again. We are in pretty good shape for this year but will have to explore other means of fundraising for the future. For $412 one student can be fed for the entire year, including the summer through this program. Right now, we are about 5 children short of our goal, but feel that we will have things worked out by the end of August.
We are also hopefully planning three undertakings for the fall. First, on September 18th a Rise Against Hunger meal packing event will be held in the Parish Hall. Don Brainard is in charge and he will be needing, I believe, 75+ people for a few hours to help to pack 10,000 meals.
St. Paul’s along with Temple Baptist Church has been invited by St. Andrew’s Covenant Church to participate in a neighborhood ecumenical Habitat for Humanity “build.” The recipient is a custodian at NRHS and the location is about 3 blocks down 16th St. from St. Paul’s. If we are able to participate it will begin in October.
Finally, if the budget allows and the committee agrees we would hope to once again conduct a Snipes “Book Project.” In 2019 St. Paul’s was able to donate a new book to every child at Snipes. For many of the children it was the first book they ever owned. It would be wonderful if we could do it again!
I’d like to call your attention to several issues which are happening now. The Blessing Box, for neighborhood food supply, needs a coordinator and a small support group to watch over it. We are holding a drive for school supplies and uniforms for Snipes. There is a bin in the hallway between the parish hall and the church. We have also received a request through the Deanery for funds to buy school supplies for the children of the farm workers we have supported in the past. I believe that the committee will be able to make a donation for St. Paul’s. Anyone who would like to augment the donation may send a check to the office denoting that it’s for the farm worker’s school supplies. The request we received suggested that $35 per child was their goal. Finally, St. Paul’s Family Promise will need a new coordinator(s) by the end of the year. Right now, things are in a pared down mode. As a support church, we are only supplying meals two nights per quarter. As things get back to some normalcy there will be additional tasks. We also need to recruit new support people for when things do expand. If you have an interest or any questions, please contact Nancy Bray or me.
For a very long time, but especially in the last 7 or 8 years, St. Paul’s has been a standout in the community. We are known as a church that cares, that is involved, that is committed to helping those in need. Hopefully in the coming years we will continue to be THAT church and keep on growing our presence and broadening our impact in the community! I have always been a believer that our motivation can best be found in Matthew 25:35-40.
New Revised Standard Version
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’
Community Ministries Committee Members: Pat Barker, Don Brainard, Steve Bucci, Merrillie Crafts, Joe Farri, Cecelia Peers
Community Ministries Organizations
- Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard – provides groceries and household supplies to needy families
- Nourish NC Backpack Buddies – provides food to needy children for weekends and vacations
- Snipes Academy – our adopted neighborhood elementary school
- Help Hub – provides access and support to multiple community services
- Good Shepherd – provides food and shelter to the homeless and less fortunate
- 2 Share – supplies furniture and household supplies to those in need
- V.O.Y.A.G.E. – supports “at risk” children connecting them with pathways to success
- Episcopal Farm Workers – support for farm workers and their families in SE NC
- Dreams of Wilmington – provides access to the arts for children in need
- Rise Against Hunger – provides meals in NC, the US, and around the world
- Habitat for Humanity – building of homes for low income families
- Coach Thomas / gym – a place for kids to play and be coached
- Episcopal Navajo Land / H2O – helping to provide water to reservations
- Family Promise – provides shelter, food, and housing/job search
- Communities in Schools – works to keep kids in school and involve the community
- St. Paul’s Blessing Box – provides e a constant supply of non-perishable food to our neighborhood
- St. Paul’s Angel Tree – provides Christmas gifts for Snipes children and senior citizens