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Missions and Outreach

Be aware of all that we do to make a difference and – when you can

– help make a difference yourself!.

An Update From The Open Door

FPC’s friends at The Open Door are doing such vital work serving an extraordinary number and variety of God’s people here in our own Cape Ann and wider community.

Sarah Grow reports the following:

… it has been an enormously crazy week… in addition to our usual fare, we have also taken on two church meal programs that closed, (so now we are supplying meals all 7 days of the week) and also the Action Shelter and The Grace Shelter just closed (they are moving everyone to the Y for greater social distancing) but we are also picking up their meals as well (breakfast and dinner)… And that doesn’t include all the folks that got laid off coming to our doors…it’s hard to believe that this is just a week and half in!! It seems like a month!

All this with us in effect at half staff… (the staff in an alternating two-team model with half working onsite, and the other offsite, and then switching–to increase social distancing, mitigate exposure, and increase sustainability of the organization’s operations. So that if one person gets sick–they don’t wipe out the entire team….) So proud of our organization… You should know that last week (and currently we are only going week-to-week as it is changing so much) we had a 40% increase in requests for food assistance from our pantries/meal programs and agencies.”

Let’s keep The Open Door, and food pantries and shelters across the state and the country, in our prayers and support them in any way that we can during this time of crisis, and throughout the coming year.

Our Weekly Food Offerings will now go to the Grace Center. The Missions Committee will be suggesting a particular item each month, but be assured, any appropriate non-perishable breakfast or luncheon item will be appreciated. Collection baskets are found in the Narthex and the Chapel (by the office.)  At the Unitarian Universalist Church in Gloucester the Grace Center welcomes the homeless and others in need of a warm spot in which to spend their day time.  Good meals are also offered five days a week.

April – Elbow Macaroni

Brown Bag Lunches

Brown Bag Lunch, Friday, April 24. We will be making brown bag meals for Action Emergency Homeless Shelter. Can you help? To volunteer go online to https://tinyurl.com/brownbagmission

First Parish Church runs an ongoing monthly Brown Bag Lunch Mission for Action, Inc. an Emergency Homeless Shelter in Gloucester. Volunteers are welcome to participate in making, donating ingredients for and delivering the lunches on the last Friday of each month. To see what is needed click here. Action, Inc.’s mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged individuals and families by minimizing the effects of poverty, promoting economic security, and advocating for social change. Learn more about Action’s mission.

Serve Dinner at The Open Door

Several times a year we gather to serve dinner at The Open Door in Gloucester. We need volunteers to prep and serve food and to help with clean up. You can sign up by following the links below or speak with Jim Brennan after worship or at 978-879-4595

Upcoming dates: June 17, September 16 and December 23. To sign up to volunteer click here

Harvest Food Drive, Each Octoberharvestfooddrive

The annual First Parish Church Harvest Food Drive helps our neighbors who are struggling to feed their families. Every year our congregation responds generously to the call for food donations to stock the pantries at Beverly Bootstraps and The Open Door. The canned goods and non-perishables that are collected during our Harvest Food Drive assist families and individuals in Beverly, Manchester, Essex, Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, and Rockport.

Many people live in a state of food insecurity and continually worry about having enough groceries to make it through the week or even the next day. Beverly Bootstraps and The Open Door stock their shelves with healthful foods to help clients stretch their food budgets. The pantries provide a dignified shopping experience at no cost.

The Missions Committee and congregation all cooperate in this important effort. All through the month of October we collect non-perishable food items and on the last Sunday of October the donations are brought to the altar for a blessing before items are delivered to the food pantries.

Items can be dropped off at the Chapel or in the Narthex.

November Missions are Council on Aging Bags and Freshman Care Boxes.

Zimbabwe Southdown Church Mission

South Down Church in Zimbabwe has been a partner for several years and we continue to share photographs, news and our children have pen pals there. We are sad to let you know that we are not sending a shipment this year as the new Zimbabwe government has prevented containers from being delivered.  Dan DeOreo says we hope to resume that support in the future.  Thanks to everyone who keeps them in prayer.

Read more here and here

See photos from Zimbabwe Mission 2017 below

Seaside Parish Knitters

Read more

Children’s Winter Drive Each Nov/Dec

Our Church is given the opportunity to provide warmth for underprivileged children in our community as the thermometer begins to rapidly drop. Members can sign up to donate winter boots, coats and other essentials. Look for more in November 2018

With YOUR help in we have…

  • Packed a container for our Sister Church in Zimbabwe
  • Participated in an Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast
  • Contributed 14 Easter Baskets to Plummer Home
  • Prepared 34 brown bag lunches on the last Friday of each month
  • Collected food for Open Door and Bootstraps
  • Missions table at the Church Fair collected $300 for Open Door, Grace Center, and Beverly Bootstraps
  • Coats and boots drive for the Angels Ministry, December, thank you to all donors and especially the Seaside Parish Knitters for the beautiful hats and mittens!

Zimbabwe 2017

Brown Bag Lunches, Easter Baskets for Foster Children, Coats Mission, Hats and Mittens 2017 and serving at The Open Door

Shelving for The Grace Center, Gloucester

Zimbabwe Mission 2016

Serving Dinner at The Open Door

Here is a short account of the ministry we carry out at First Parish

Gloucester Office of Veterans Services, 12 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930, (978) 281-8740

The Office helps provide a program of financial and medical assistance for indigent veterans and their dependents. Qualifying veterans and their dependents receive necessary financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies, and medical care. Eligible dependents of deceased veterans are provided with the same benefits as they would have were the veteran still living. The organization also coordinates Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances, maintains records of Gloucester veterans, and maintains the veteran cemeteries and death register.

The Open Door, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA, 01930, foodpantry.org

Mission: To alleviate the impact of hunger in our community using practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.  Last year, the Food Pantry provided 580,289 pounds of free canned goods, fish produce, meats, bread, dairy products, and eggs to 1,588 households during 12,405 visits, representing 3,726 people.  Community meals served 16,822 hot meals to guests needing food and companionship in a safe environment. Volunteer service totaled 22,166 hours of time, talent and engagement.

The Grace Center, P.O. Box 135, Gloucester, MA, 01930, www.gracecenterinc.org.  Volunteer contact: Rev Rona Tyndall (978) 857-9305

The Grace Center provides daily breakfast and lunch, advocacy and referrals, transportation, volunteer nursing services, life skills, job readiness, health screenings/testings, SPIRT Assessments, weekly yoga and meditation, therapeutic music and art programs, volunteer legal services.  Our chili-chowder lunch in April helped start organic gardens to help feed program constituents with nutritious vegetables.

South Down Church, Zimbabwe. firstparishchurch.org/zimbabwe

Joining with a United Church of Christ congregation in Keene, New Hampshire, we have collected needed clothing and supplies to ship to Africa.  In September, 2015, we packed and sent 44 boxes containing packages of fabric, dresses made from pillow cases, sewing machines, and even a wheel chair.  Our church website shows photographs of Rev. Fungayi Mutsumbei and other adults and children opening the boxes. Children hold up toothpaste and brushes or clothing items they will enjoy wearing.

Plummer Home, 37 Winter Island Road, Salem, MA., 01970.  (978) 744-1099

For 160 years, Plummer Home has served vulnerable youth.  Originally a reform school for boys, Plummer Home has evolved into a multi-service organization serving both boys and girls.  Most of the young people served are in or at risk of entering the foster care of juvenile justice system.  There are three operating principles:  Permanency:  Every youth has a safe emotionally secure parenting relationship in a life-long legal family.  Preparation:  Every youth should have the skills and support to meet his or her physical emotional and economic needs.  Community:  Every youth has a safe place to live, a sense of belonging and a chance to positively contribute to the community.

Youth Mission for May, Operation Troop Support

Throughout the month of May the Youth Group invites everyone to help with a collection for Operation Troop Support in Danvers. We are going to try to collect 300 items to coordinate with our 300th Celebrations this year!

Items such as socks, crossword puzzles, hygiene products for both males and females, band aids, sunscreen, visine, q-tips, kleenex, and more. If you have any questions contact Jessica youthdirector.fpchurch@verizon.net. The kids and I will also be writing thank you/encouragement letters to send along with the items we collect.

 ZimSD_Sewing_Group

 

 

 

Committee Members:
Jim Brennan, Kim Gendron, Nancy Peterson, Deborah Rouine, Lelly Smith

Mission Trip 2013 H.O.M.E. Inc. Orland Maine, see photos here

Photo for Cricket Missions2013

 Gingerbread Cookie Mission Saturday December 8, 2012

 

Ginger Bread Cookie Mission, each December the Missions Committee partners with the youth of First Parish to make and distribute gingerbread men cookies to shut ins and those in need.

Gingerbread cookies 2011