St. Andrew's Outreach
One of the remarkable aspects of our parish outreach effort is the activities and the giving they generate (both in terms of service and donations). Outreach is a committee of the whole, open to all members of the congregation. It acts as an umbrella organization, facilitating a variety of fund-raising and community outreach projects initiated by groups and individuals who donate their "time, treasures, and talents".
Outreach benefitted from several fund raising activities in recent years, including monthly (winter) soup sales; Pancake Supper; and Pennies for People (the small change jar in the Narthex). In addition, Outreach receives money from the interest on designated church endowment funds and from individual donations. New ideas for fund raising are always welcome.
The children and youth of the church also participate in our outreach activities. This past spring, the children made activity bags for patients at the Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville. They also collected small stuffed animals for children in orphanages in third world countries.
St. Andreans' donate food every week to a shopping cart in the Narthex, including turkeys and hams at holiday times. These items are distributed at the local Council of Churches food bank.
During 2017, Outreach funded or supported the following projects: Outreach disbursed $4,071, including annual donations to five local and national charities (Haven Ministry, Sunbury; Heiter Center, Lewisburg; Shepherd of the Streets, Williamsport; Transitions, Union County; St. Ann's in the Bronx After School Program) , but excluding money donated directly for Syrian refugees (see below). Outreach commits itself to increasing, if possible, its total regular disbursements by 10% per annum. The corresponding figure for 2016 was $4,260. The total already paid out or allocated for 2018 stands at $3540 [(excluding Alternative Giving donations and a large amount awaiting transfer to Greece (see below)].
- Open Table: offers a planned nutritious meal cooked on the premises to anyone who turns up on the last Wednesday of the month. Up to about forty people usually attend and many are "regulars" who enjoy the fellowship as well as the food. Reed Byrum and Mary-Beth James are the current organizers; other volunteers help with cooking, preparation and clearing up. Surplus food is taken on to Haven Ministry in Sunbury.
- Socks and Underwear Drive: raised $1,195 to provide socks and underwear at the beginning of the school year for children in need.
- Supplemental Food Bank: a joint Lewisburg Council of Churches effort which provides regular food supplies to families and individuals in need at a time of increasing pressure. The Bank relies largely on Federal funding but is also supported by church donations, including groceries collected in the St. Andrew's shopping cart, items for the clothing bank and the Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, which collected $330.
- Alternative Christmas Giving: offers a different way of gift-giving at Christmas. In 2017, Alternative Giving raised $1460 for five local and international projects.
- Syrian [and other] Refugees in Athens: Support for this project continued to be strong during 2017. A total of $5,273, raised from generous individual donations and from initiatives including the sale of calendars featuring refugee children’s artwork and a Bingo session organized by the St. Andrew’s Confirmands group at the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, was sent out to Stephanie Larson in Athens during the first half of the year. Stephanie continued to act as our “St. Andreans on the spot”, using her contacts to provide supplies from crayons to lentils for the refugee families in the shelter with which she is particularly involved and sending back regular reports. Stephanie and her family are now back in Lewisburg, but she continues to be involved with the refugees. As a result, the Outreach focus has shifted slightly to a new project: helping to fund the purchase of land for an agricultural commune where refugee families from Athens can settle and grow food for themselves and crops for market.
Community Joint Projects:
In the summer, St. Andrews again joined other Lewisburg churches to provide lunches for local children in need during the school vacation. Food bags are applied for and distributed through the Supplemental Food Bank and each church is responsible for one or more distribution sessions in a six-week period. Six volunteers from St. Andrew's packed and distributed 30 bags to 26 families in one session.
Episcopal Relief and Development: The worldwide relief agency of the Episcopal Church, provides money and resources in times of emergency or disaster. During 2017 St. Andrew's contributed to hurricaine relief through Episcopal Relief and Development. In addition, the outreach committee has contributed to provide clean water in Pakistan and mosquito nets in Africa through Episcopal Relief and Development. Click on the following link for more information on Episcopal Relief and Development.