Food Pantry to Distribute School Supplies
Deacons are collecting donations of school supplies. They will be distributed on August 10th to food pantry families. We order kits for children in grades K-5, but your donations help us give supplies to middle schoolers, as well. Please consider donating loose leaf paper, pencils, pens, folders, or notebooks. You can leave them in the box in the gathering space. Thank you for your help!
“Now is the month of Maying”, and we have been waiting so long for the weather to decide whether it is going to be winter or spring that I am afraid we are just going to jump right into summer! That has always meant that some activities at the church slow down, but I can tell you from experience, that the Deacons rarely see that happen. Friends still need rides to doctor appointments, families still have new babies or operations and need meals from Loaves and Fishes, funeral services are still conducted, cards are still sent for significant birthdays and occasions glad and sad, and the homebound still look forward to visits by Deacons and church friends. The Food Pantry stays very busy throughout the summer, and we also prepare to collect, buy and distribute school materials in August.
What does this mean to you? It means you can volunteer to cook or drive or visit and your help would be most gratefully welcomed. In fact, one recent recipient of Loaves and Fishes meals has happily volunteered to give back and cook meals for another who needs our support. I personally find that “paying it forward” is not only a gift to the community, but also a gift to George and me, because we get so much pleasure out of seeing the grateful smiles when dinner is delivered. I just cook extra servings on the day when the meal is needed, divide it up, deliver it in time for dinner, and then go home to our own meal. We may not all be at the same table, but there is still a feeling of community when sharing the same meal on the same evening.
Our Food Pantry serves residents of Beaver Ridge, an apartment complex that caters to low income seniors. Deacon Kathy Winsted has visited and reached out to this community, with the hope that interested residents might be in offered rides to church services. This is an example of how an outreach ministry can expand into the community. Someone might be looking for a church family, but not have transportation to get there.
The Food Pantry item of the month is oatmeal. We also ask you to keep your eyes open for school supply sales. The older children need pens, pencils, notebooks and paper. They are above the age served by the school kits we buy, but have just as great a need for basic supplies. Anything you bring in will be divided up and distributed to grateful kids.
Many thanks to you for reading this news and caring about the work we do. The Deacons serve as a point of contact for you, whether you are in need of solace or are volunteering to give to the community. We are just a call or email away.
May you feel the generosity of the Lord’s love surrounding you every day.
Angelyn Forbes-Freeze for the Deacons
One of the roles of our Deacons is to provide spiritual care and support to our church family. A visitation team has been created by the Board of Deacons to visit the homebound and sick. Rev. Tami Seidel is working as pastoral advisor with this team. Deacons Christine Lazarus and Heidi Haring are the visit coordinators and the other team members, who help tremendously, are Chuck Radke, Mabel Seymour, Terri Froehlich and Sue Nelson–all former Deacons who still enjoy visiting, and Rev. Chip Low.
We communicate all visits and needs via one e-mail group and visits are tracked in the office and by the coordinating Deacons in order to insure that no one is forgotten. We visit members in hospitals, in Elder Care facilities and at home. We also visit those who have periodic needs, such as those just out of the hospital or in recuperation and those who just need to be checked on from time to time or who are going through especially trying circumstances and need extra encouragement.
As of now we visit:
9 people in Elder Care facilities
6 people Homebound
3 people in Temporary Care
7 people in Check-in care
We also share communion with at least 2 people each month.
Because of the visitation team, we were able to accomplish 26 visits last month! Our goal was to visit everyone once per quarter, but thanks to everyone on the team this month we were able to see almost everyone, even with an increase in those hospitalized, in rehab or in extensive recuperation at home.
We hope you’ll share information with us if you or someone in our congregation is going to be in the hospital or in one of these circumstances. We’d love to visit them on behalf of the church. If you are also visiting people in our church, thank you. If you would like to join the Visitation Team, please speak to Christine, Heidi, Tami or Chip.
Heidi Haring for the Deacons
The winter has lasted longer than expected, and we are anxiously awaiting spring’s crocuses in this Easter season!
We have been carrying the little brown box to church every Sunday, and reflecting on the practices that we have been given each week. I must admit to not “wearing” the box (not sure what my students would make of that), but I am trying to be the box and to practice what is in the box. If the practices become part of me, perhaps I will better be able to accept all of what being a Deacon entails. If we all “practice“, think of all the good we can practice in the greater community.
If our greater community is hungry, we will give them food through the Food Pantry. The food item of the month is: hearty soups. If you are a BJ’s member, and do not have a baby at home you are diapering, please clip and pass on your Luv’s coupons. You may put them in the offering plate, give them to a Deacon, or put them in an envelope and place them in the basket next to our bulletin board. Diapers of any kind and size as well as wipes are always welcome and will add to what we buy. They are an expensive addition, but desperately needed, and gratefully accepted and appreciated by the Food Pantry clients.
Spring is here! Let us sing with joy!
Angelyn Forbes-Freeze for the Deacons
The Deacons have returned from a very rewarding retreat at Holmes Presbyterian Conference Center, where Chip, assisted by Tami and including a workshop by Sarah Henkel, Cross-Cultural Coordinator at Hudson Valley Presbytery, asked us to look closely at our various ministries to determine which are most effective and where we want to concentrate our energies in the next year. We were inspired by the DeWitt Jones film on “Everyday Creativity” as well as the exercises on communication guidelines and speaking using a “mutual invitation” model, to look at which ministries are goal-driven and which are relationship-driven. Our discussions brought out the importance of the Food Pantry as a service to the community, and the hope that it might become more relationship-driven.
In order to accomplish this, we are asking if there are members of the congregation who are fluent in Spanish who would be willing to spend some Saturday mornings helping us to develop better communication with the families served by the Food Pantry. This would be a huge help in moving that ministry from a goal-driven effort to one that is more relationship-driven.
We also invite members of the congregation who are interested in visiting the homebound to join with Deacons in this outreach to congregants who cannot always get to services at the church. Please call or email: Christine Lazarus – email@example.com (914-762-9427) or Heidi Haring – firstname.lastname@example.org (914-737-9047). It will bring happiness to everyone..
Another area where the Deacons need your help is in Grant Writing. Budgets are being cut, grants are disappearing, and we cannot provide the kind of food through the Pantry that promotes healthy living without this aid. If you work in a business that supports grants aimed at relieving hunger in the community, please inquire about the process and then get in touch with a Deacon. If you have written or applied for grants, or are interested in the process, we need your help! We are a community that needs a community effort to promote food justice in our midst.
The Food Pantry item of the month is cereal…always expensive and in short supply. If you can buy an extra box the next time you are shopping, it will be much appreciated. If you have gently-used stuffed animals or children’s’ books, they will also bring huge smiles to the children who visit on Saturday mornings.
I know that there are a lot of “wishes” in this column, and this lets you know that WE ALL are the Church. Isn’t it wonderful!
Walk with God’s love during the dark times, anticipating the joy to come.
Angelyn Forbes-Freeze for the Deacons
In the midst of the blustery, cold weather, the Deacons have a ministry to spread the warmth and caring of FPCY to our members and to the community. In order to do this, we need your help!
Loaves and Fishes is a ministry that provides a meal (or several) to a member and their family in times of sickness, loss or other forms of need.
Transportation is a ministry that provides a ride (or two or three) to a member who is otherwise unable to get to the doctor or their physical therapist or to Church on a Sunday morning.
Visitation to the Homebound keeps our members who cannot always get to church in touch with the activities and abiding love of the church. The Deacons and the minister bring communion to the homebound, visit members in nursing homes, assisted living centers and hospitals, and generally bring cheer to those who cannot get out and about.
All of these ministries depend upon you, the members of this church, to help cook, drive and visit as your time allows. Please complete a form in the next month, or let a Deacon or Chip know of your interest and availability. We are all one church, and this is a good way to be a vital part of the community!
In February, the Deacons’ Offering goes toward the purchase of school supplies for the children of our Food Pantry clients. Last year we gave out 250 school kits (divided K thru 2nd grade and grades 3 to 5) as well as supplies for 115 older children creatively assembled from your contributions. Please continue to be generous during this special offering in February.
The Item of the Month for the Food Pantry is PASTA. Any kind of pasta is welcome, as it is a staple for our clients, and often not available through the Food Bank. We will collect pasta in the basket outside of the Gathering Place as well as near the Deacons’ Easel which is displayed during Coffee Hour.
Remember – the light of the Lord brings warmth into the coldest corners. Love and enjoy that warmth even as the wind rattles the doors and creeps under window sashes.
Yours in Christ …
The Deacons had a very active year in 2012, marked by a new commitment to “presence” in our ministry. The retreat led by Chip encouraged us all to make the work of the Deacons the work of the Church, with more involvement by members who have not yet been called to this ministry as well by those who have served in previous years. It has been exciting and busy, and in aiming to serve those who are less visible in both the church community and the community at large, we have all grown along the path of our own faith journey.
The Food Pantry has been very busy, and we do not think the numbers will be diminishing any time soon. We feel fortunate that we are able to provide to our neighbors in need, and found that people came to FPCY from as far as Ossining when their local pantry was unable to open due to lack of electricity, refrigeration and delivery options. The last pantry, which combined bags of food and fresh vegetables with the annual Toys for Tots distribution, was the 3rd largest ever! We helped 171 families with 254 bags of groceries; we distributed over 1400 toys to 497 children from 127 families. In 2012, we distributed 4500 bags of food. This is truly an amazing ministry, and the monetary and physical help from those of you who are not currently Deacons continues to be a crucial part of the process. We thank each and every one of you!
Visits to the Homebound is a ministry that has taken on a life of its own. Church members who live in various Senior Living facilities are regularly visited, and even transported to see friends living in other centers. Sometimes they receive flowers that have been donated to the church for Sunday services; sometimes they receive cookies or a slice of homemade sweet bread; sometimes just the presence of a visitor who cares and listens and brings news of the church is the most welcome gift. Chip has been active with the Deacons to ensure that communion is brought to our homebound at regular intervals, and that is also much appreciated.
We will welcome new Deacons and say “thank you” (never goodbye) to those rotating off active service at our January meeting on January 13. A light lunch will be served, and new Deacons will receive descriptions of the various ministries as we make commitments for the next year.
May you find the comfort and joy of God’s presence as you begin the New Year, and walk with that presence in the months to come.
Angelyn Forbes-Freeze for the Deacons
We had an amazing day at the Food Pantry on August 25. Many hands were on deck to help during this very busy pantry. We gave out a total of 103 school supply kits from Staples (for grades K-5th grade) and an astounding 73 bags of supplies for the older kids. There were many happy school kids and parents.
All this would not have been possible without the monetary donations from the Congregation and the notebooks, pencils, loose leaf paper etc. from the individual members of the Congregation . A total of 176 kids received supplies and will be off to a good start for the 2012-2013 school year.
There were 188 bags of groceries given out which is almost reaching some of our past records. Many new persons were signed up.
The Food Pantry committee is grateful for all the help from the volunteers and especially Dave Humphrey who took on the job of overseeing the early morning packing of groceries, directing the volunteers and afterwards the clean-up. Also, to be commended are Terri Froehlich and Sue Nelson for organizing and distributing the supplies and packing the supplies for the older kids (6th grade – high school).
Blessings- Deacons Louise Fang and Terri Froehlich
Many thanks to all who helped so cheerfully with the Postal Service Canned Food Delivery and storage.Without your dedication, we would still be walking among cans, bottles and boxes. This is an important part of stocking the pantry shelves, and helping those who need assistance.
The summer is upon us, but the Deacons’ work will continue uninterrupted. The Food Pantry, although a little less crowded in summer than in winter, still provides a much-needed resource to our neighbors in need. In August, we will again distribute boxes of school supplies to the children of our clients. The delight on the children’s faces is a gift in itself, and reflects your generous gifts to the Deacons’ Offering. Thank you.
We have a long list of people who are regularly visited in their homes or nursing homes as well as those who are temporarily hospitalized. The care and conversation are the most important parts of the visit, and when flowers or treats are also included, it becomes a celebration. If you want to go on a visit or two, please contact Heidi Haring (email@example.com) so she can let you know the schedule
May the many blessings that God provides be with you at home and on any travels planned for this summer. We will see you in church and in the garden and will listen for your concerns as you share them with our community of Deacons.
Our Food Pantry gets a healthy boost in the Spring from the delivery of food collected by our area’s Postal Workers’ annual collection. This drive was started by Postal Workers a number of years ago in response to the growing need for food for local pantries. The postal carriers pick up any donated food from mailboxes along their routes These workers not only carry the mail they have to deliver but on this day they carry often heavy bags of canned good to their trucks.
At the end of the day they drive to our church and drop them off to a waiting group of volunteers, who then carry the food into the Pantry to be sorted, checked for expiration dates and then stored in our closets for use during the Spring and long summer months when there are fewer donations. We need many hands to help us get the food processed and stored between the hours of 3:30 and 6 on Saturday, May 12. The more hands the merrier, is what we have found. It is usually a very efficient operation and is often fun as we vie for the award of “oldest food item” found.
Please come to help out for as long as you can spare; 30 minutes, one hour or the whole time until the job is done. Put it on your calendar now, because we know how quickly Spring calendars fill up. We will have a sign up sheet on the Deacons’ Easel in late April and early May. You can also contact Heidi Haring at firstname.lastname@example.org.