In 2014, 331,500 people were positively impacted by the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The Hunger Solution Center opened, doubling the capacity of the Food Bank as well as increasing the amount of fresh produce distributed from 4 million pounds to 12 million pounds. There are 400 partner agencies in 22 counties that work daily to make a difference. In 2014, 6784 people volunteered 60,312 hours in the warehouse! 98% of the money raised goes toward services. These comments are paraphrased from the 2014 Annual Report of the Food Bank.
Through your pledges to our church’s program, the mission committee makes donations to the Food Bank. In addition, our members have supported their Empty Bowls fund raiser in September as well as volunteering our hands to assist them in sorting food for distribution. On October 24, 6 volunteers from our church spent the morning sorting food for distribution to the partner agencies. Working with 12 other volunteers, we sorted 7873 pounds of food. The mission committee wants to thank our members for their numerous methods of supporting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan!
Fourteen volunteers from our church traveled to the North End Soup Kitchen in Flint on Saturday, October 10, to prepare and serve a lunch to people in crisis. Larry Zimbler again headed up our meal preparation by deciding on a menu, obtaining the food and organizing our volunteers. We served spaghetti with meatballs, salad, garlic bread and two sheet cakes (that we baked) to about 100 people. Everyone really liked the meal and we enjoyed their company.
Thank you to everyone who walked, rocked and donated to this year’s CROP Hunger Walk. The event took place from 1:30 – 3 at Bush Park on October 4. Each lap walked earned a ticket for the raffle drawings, the course had challenges throughout, rocking chairs were offered for those who found that an easier way to participate and a gentle yoga session was provided, the band was awesome and played during the walking time, and Uncle Ray’s provided ice cream sundaes for all. The preliminary estimated total collected from our Fenton, Holly, Linden and Lake Fenton community is $11,000, and 25% of the proceeds stays local! Way to Go!!! Below are pictures of adults from our church hanging a sign and our youth that participated.
Volunteers from St. Jude’s Episcopal Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Fenton joined together to provide two homes in Flint with a “Brush With Kindness.” Habitat for Humanity organized a number of homes on the north end of Flint to have minor repairs as well as the exterior painted as a part of their “Brush With Kindness” program. In addition, Habitat is working with the homeowners to apply for grants for more significant home repairs. Both homeowners were very appreciative. It is amazing what a coat of paint does for the appearance of the homes!
On Thursday, September 24, eleven of our members went together to the Empty Bowls fund raiser for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. This year the event was held in their new Hunger Solutions building. For $20.00, each person selected a ceramic bowl to take home as well as consumed numerous bowls of soups and breads from area restaurants. It is a fun way to support a very worthwhile cause!
We are happy to report that our Read & Feed program was a great success for our fourth year! We hosted 22 second and third grade readers from area elementary schools who had been identified as needing assistance with reading. We hoped to “jump-start” their fall schooling by providing them with 6 mornings of reading experiences as well as food for breakfast and lunch. We used most of our church to have the students read to us and to trained dogs, to have us read to them, to play word games, to sing songs and play games using music, to create various craft and science projects, and to have lots of fun! We sent food home for them and their siblings for the remainder of the two weeks as well as sent them home with books that were contributed by the congregation.
Parents were overwhelmingly positive about the program. All of the students were excited and enthused to participate.
We want to thank the nearly 50 volunteers from our church and St. Jude’s who made this outreach possible. Thank you to our congregation for their support of our mission budget that enables this type of outreach. We also want to thank Home Depot for supplying craft projects as well as volunteers to assist in their assembly. We want to thank Jet’s Pizza and Uncle Ray’s Dairyland for contributing the food for our final lunch; it was a huge hit!
On Wednesday, August 12, our mission outreach committee hosted a picnic at Silver Lake Park Beach in Fenton for the Whaley Children Center. We were pleased that 35 youth and 6 staff attended from Whaley! They had a great time and were very appreciative; they look forward to this picnic each year. We would like to thank the congregation for their support of our mission budget that enables this type of outreach. We would also like to thank the many members who contributed food and hosted the picnic. We would also like to thank Jet’s Pizza for contributing 16 pizzas again this year.
On Saturday, July 11, 2015, our church supported the Bastille Day Race in downtown Fenton. Each year, this race has generated over $18,000 for the Genesee County Habitat for Humanity chapter and brought thousands of visitors into Fenton. This year the race course was modified due to the downtown construction with the StreetScape project. The 15k race began at 7:45 am while the 5k run/walk began at 8:00 am. Both races were wrapping up by 10:00 am. Food and entertainment were available at the O’Donnell Park.
Our church supplied nine volunteers who assisted with traffic control at five neighborhood corners. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this worthwhile cause. Everyone had a great time!
We want to thank the 32 people who showed up to donate their blood, the 26 people who were able to donate, the Boy Scouts for assisting in setting up and packing up the equipment, the members who made cookies and the members who hosted the drive on Saturday, June 20. We had two first-time donors and two double-red donations (giving us credit for 28 pints). The weather was great and the donations went very smoothly in spite of the StreetScape construction. We expect the walk-in donations will increase in future blood drives when the construction is complete and when either the Art Walk or JingleFest are concurrent with our blood drives.
Our church’s team “Presbyterians With A Purpose” again helped raise funds to fight cancer in this year’s Relay For Life. We walked in memory of the people who lost their fight with cancer and in celebration of the people who have survived cancer! Almost everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by this dreadful disease. Our 24 team members have raised over $7500 so far this year with a Milford sales event still coming up in July. We are helping to find a cure for the many forms of cancer!