On February 11, sixteen members of our church went to serve at the Shelter of Flint. We organized their attic storage as well as cleaned and waxed their dining room floor. We helped them make a difference in our world using our time, talents and treasure (we use some of our mission budget to support their essential services).
The Shelter of Flint has several essential programs that serve the Flint area:
- They provide emergency shelter for the homeless.
- They provide transitional and permanent housing.
- As of July 1, 2015, they are the only non-profit organization that provides comprehensive housing placement services in Genesee County.
- They provide the Homeless Outreach program as a point of entry into services for Genesee County including street outreach, wrap around services that partner with other community agencies, and information and referrals for needed services.
Volunteers from our church again supported the Flushing Presbyterian Church as they hosted 3 families for one week. Family Promise provides counseling, housing and support for homeless families in crisis and assists them in re-gaining their independence. One family was a young mother with two young sons. One family was a mother with two teen-aged twin sons. One family was a young couple with a 6 month-old girl. We hosted two of the seven dinners, evenings, nights and breakfast times. Together, we are sharing God’s love with our world!
We hosted another very successful Red Cross blood drive at our church! Our goal continued to be 39 pints, but we had 65 appointments and collected 53 pints! We want to thank the blood donors, the Boy Scouts for assisting in setting up and packing up the equipment, and the members who made cookies and the members who hosted the drive on Saturday, December 3.
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan helps provide food to the hungry in 22 counties in the eastern half of Michigan. Over 19% of the people in eastern Michigan are food insecure. There are 400 partner agencies in these 22 counties that work daily to distribute this food. 98% of the money raised goes toward services.
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 November 12, fourteen volunteers from our church spent the morning sorting food for distribution to the partner agencies. Our volunteers working with another group of volunteers sorted 25,000 pounds of food!
The Mission committee wants to thank our members for their numerous methods of supporting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan!
Volunteers from our church brought smiles, laughter, and lots of candy to community children when we took part in the Fenton Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Halloween event. Games to play, a Wheel of Fortune to spin, apple cider to drink, and the appearance of First Presbyterian’s own Mayor of Halloweenville all added to the fun!
On Saturday, September 24, a group of volunteers from our church had a wonderful time assisting Adopt-a-Pet. We socialized their animals, painted a shed and benches, picked up trash, and built storage shelves. Since 2006, Adopt-a-Pet has found homes for over 3000 cats and dogs and funded veterinary care for some very sick animals. Their objective is “to find loving homes for homeless dogs and cats as well as assist people in the community to find homes for their personal animals.”
On Thursday, September 22, twelve of our members went together to the Empty Bowls fund raiser for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. For $20.00, each person selected a ceramic bowl to take home that was made by local artisans as well as enjoyed numerous bowls of soups and breads from area restaurants. Over 99% of the money raised goes into supplying over 12 million pounds of food each year in 22 counties of Michigan!
The Genesee County Habitat for Humanity is building 6 new homes in the Flint area this year. A group of 10 volunteers from our church assisted on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Our group painted the stairway walls and ceiling, laid a wood floor in one bedroom, leveled part of the yard and then seeded it, spread mulch around the house exterior and prepped a closet for the door. We had a very rewarding time and also met the new homeowner Shameka McDowell.
Shameka’s current residence, which needs major repair, is located in a very unsafe neighborhood. Shameka is very excited about her new home and is putting in a lot of “equity hours” in building it. “I have been working hard in trying to find a simple, affordable home, for myself, my disabled mother and grandfather. A place where we can live, laugh and love, without the worry of not feeling safe when you go to bed.”
We are happy to report that our Read & Feed program was a great success for our fifth year! We hosted 30 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 six 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 or 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 served them breakfast and lunch as well as sent food home for them and their siblings. We also sent them home filled with books and, new this year, backpacks for school via the Deacon’s project.
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. Thanks also go to Jet’s Pizza and Uncle Ray’s Dairyland for contributing the food for our final lunch; it was a HUGE hit with the students!
Ten volunteers from our church traveled to the North End Soup Kitchen in Flint on Saturday, June 25, to prepare and serve a lunch to people in crisis. We served about 70 lunches. Everyone was very appreciative and we enjoyed our time together.