2021 Year End Outreach Update
The Outreach ministries of St. Paul’s continued to grow, adapt, and strengthen in 2021 as we focused on meeting the needs in our community and beyond in response to God’s love and call on our lives. Our efforts to respond to the ongoing impact of COVID in our community continued this past year, with the Vestry approving a disbursement in April of $15,000 in total to the following organizations:
Casa San Jose [https://casasanjose.org/]
Hello Neighbor [https://www.helloneighbor.io/]
PRYSE Academy through the Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education (ARYSE) [https://www.arysepgh.org/pryseacademy]
South Hills Food Pantry [http://www.spchurch.org/pages/?SouthHillsFoodPantry]
412 Food Rescue[https://412foodrescue.org/
Jubilee Kitchen [https://www.jubileesoupkitchen.com/]
Trinity Walk In [https://downtownpittsburghministerium.org/walk-in-ministry/]
Shepherd's Heart [https://shepheart.org/]
Shepherd's Wellness [https://www.swconline.org/]
St John's 2021 Summer Food Program [https://www.saintjohncarnegie.com/]
This disbursement brings our total donations from the COVID-19 Fund to $60,000 since its inception. It has been one of the most tangible ways that we as a parish have been able to love our neighbors during the pandemic. I am so grateful to all of you who have made that expression of love possible!
Outreach funding in 2021 also helped to support Paul Barker’s growing ministry in West Virginia, Collins Mukisa’s medical school tuition in Uganda, the Diocesan Garden Grant project, and the Carnegie Food Program, which we also supported through faithful volunteers buying groceries and filling weekend grocery bags every week for the majority of 2021!This year has also seen the birth of some new outreach opportunities in our faith community. Parishioners at St. Paul’s followed the call of God to support in a more tangible way those in the prison system, and began a letter-writing ministry to incarcerated men serving life sentences without parole.
These men have been in prison for many, many years, and have turned their lives around through study, counseling, reflection and learning new skills. The Prison Letter Ministry is a way of putting into practice Jesus' teachings in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, which calls on us to visit the prisoner. Lastly, we are building new relationships with local ministries that share our mission, including the Neighborhood Resilience Project, with whom we hope to serve in a variety of ways in 2022!
We held two major Outreach fundraisers this year – the Fish Fry and Harvest Soup Festival – both of which pivoted to a take-out format to accommodate COVID precautions. Thank you to John Sozansky and all of the volunteers that helped in both of those very successful (and delicious) events!
Our Christmas outreach focused on the Angel Tree and the Christmas Day meal. The Angel Tree this year provided nearly 500 gifts in kind to 13 organizations, supporting re-settled Afghani refugee families, immigrant children here without family members, and children and families in unstable housing, among many others. This was also our second year cooking and delivering a Christmas Day meal to our neighbors in need. With the help of nearly 40 volunteers, we delivered 160 meals on Christmas Day!
The vision of the St. Paul’s Outreach Commission is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and love our neighbor. Thank you to everyone who donated, pledged, prayed, volunteered, or in any other way supported this mission!
Summary of 2021 Year-End Distributions
Christ Episcopal Church, Bluefield - Kerosene Ministry: $2,250
Christ Episcopal Church in Bluefield, WV runs a food pantry at the church. They are also the only pantry in town that also provides kerosene, which serves as heating fuel to homes throughout the winter months for many who live in the area. The church is operating the kerosene program for 5 months this year, and St. Paul’s is supporting that essential ministry with a gift of $500 for each month of the program.
Bethlehem Haven: $1,000
Bethlehem Haven, located in downtown Pittsburgh, provides shelter and supportive services to thousands of homeless women. The continuum of care consists of a range of housing and supportive services designed to enable each woman to identify her needs, develop a plan of action, and achieve a successful outcome.
Severe Weather Emergency Shelter Support: $1,000
In 2016, Operation Safety Net organized the Severe Weather Emergency Shelter (SWES) to expand its homeless outreach. The shelter is housed at the Smithfield United Church of Christ downtown and is open every night from November 15 to March 15. The shelter not only provides a warm meal and a bed for those at risk of freezing on the streets, but also serves as a place where people can connect with resources available to them around the city. St. Paul’s parishioners have greatly helped this effort in years past by providing meatloaves and serving meals. Due to COVID-19, the shelter has partnered with an organization to provide meals, and continues to provide a safe place to stay during this tumultuous time.
Youth Mission Trip: $1,000
Since 2012, our youth have served with ministries in Mercer and McDowell Counties in West Virginia. Projects range from home repair to hunger initiatives, all coordinated by local individuals and organizations. During the pandemic, the youth have focused their mission trip locally, having a Pittsburgh Service Week instead. These trips mark significant times of spiritual growth for our youth, as well as strengthen our relationships with organizations in need.
Jeremiah’s Place: $1,000
Jeremiah’s Place, Pittsburgh’s only crisis nursery, provides emergency care for children ages 0-6 for a few hours or a few days based on the needs of the family. Co-founded by one of our parishioners, the primary focus at Jeremiah’s place is to keep children safe and to provide a safe and supportive solution for families in need. Jeremiah’s Place is conveniently located in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh and is staffed by trauma-informed caregivers and social workers. All services provided by Jeremiah’s Place are free, available 24 hours a day, and most importantly, judgment free.
Blessed Mustard Seed Babies’ Home: $1,000
For almost a decade, St. Paul’s has provided loving support to the babies, children, teenagers, and staff of the Blessed Mustard Seed Babies’ Home in Hoima, Uganda, This project was begun by an Anglican Bishop to help meet the need of the ongoing orphan crisis there. In addition to annual trips to Uganda, St. Paul's provides financial support to cover school fees, and medical and dental care, as well as clothing, school supplies, and craft materials.
South Hills Food Pantry: $1,000
South Hills Food Pantry provides food to people in the South Hills requiring the services of a food pantry but who have limited mobility or are without transportation. The Food Pantry delivers right to the door! Sponsored by Southminster Presbyterian Church and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the Food Pantry is completely staffed and run by volunteers. It is fully supported by donations of food and monetary gifts, including our donations on Food Pantry Sundays the first Sunday of each month.
Jubilee Soup Kitchen: $1,000
Jubilee Soup Kitchen offers a hot mid-day meal to all guests, 365 days a year, and fosters a community of respect and encouragement among guests and volunteers. Through the years, Jubilee Association formed to address additional needs of our guests and to serve our neighborhood, especially children, in an effort to break the cycle of poverty, saving them from ever needing to utilize the Kitchen.
Shepherd’s Heart: $1,000
Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship and Veteran’s Home is located near Mercy Hospital, and focuses on the homeless veteran population.They have worship services on Sunday evenings, a drop-in center, clothing and food donations, a veteran's home, and many more services. St. Paul’s has been involved with Shepherd’s Heart for many years, preparing and serving meals several times a year for approximately 150 low-income men, women and families, some of whom are homeless, some of whom just need a warm meal.
Trinity Walk-In Ministry: $1,000
Trinity Cathedral’s Walk-in Ministry provides the most vulnerable among us food, toiletries, clothing, and referral services. They participate along with four other downtown churches as members of the Downtown Ministerium. The volunteers listen to people, ask what they need, direct them to homeless shelters, food pantries, and other sources of service and assistance listed on a database (for example for a job search, acquiring an ID, getting furniture or clothing, transportation to medical appointments).
Christmas Meal: $1,000
The Outreach Commission designated $1,000 to support the Christmas Day meal this year; any remaining funds will go toward the Carnegie Food Program.
Hosanna Industries: $750
Hosanna Industries was founded in 1990 as a faith-rooted, non-profit mission whose work involves a variety of charitable initiatives aimed at helping our impoverished neighbors.Mission workers at Hosanna Industries build and repair homes for needy households; mobilize relief workers to areas of disaster; teach and lead workshops in art and spirituality; train young people in construction skills; and lead volunteers of all ages. Hosanna relies on donations to help hundreds of needy neighbors per year. This year, specifically, with the supply chain interruptions and circumstances constantly changing due to the pandemic, Hosanna Industries is experiencing unusual increases in the costs of many of the building materials.
Hello Neighbor: $750
Hello Neighbor is committed to supporting Pittsburgh's newest neighbors, recently resettled refugee families. Recently they created
the Refugee Assistance Fund in response to COVID-19, where 100% of donations go directly to recently resettled refugees to help meet immediate needs, such as paying bills, rent, and providing food and educational resources for their families.
Casa San Jose: $750
Casa San Jose supports and advocates for Latino communities on issues related to local integration and self-sufficiency. Right now
they are also providing bags of food staples to community members in need. St. Paul’s has supported Casa with financial gifts, gifts in kind, and volunteer efforts for the past 2 years.
Family Promise: $750
Family Promise connects homeless children and their families with a network of local congregations and the community, all focused on providing them with shelter, meals, hospitality, and support until they are able to return to sustainable independent lives in their own homes.
Neighborhood Resilience Project: $750
Neighborhood Resilience Project is a new partner ministry of St. Paul's, whose focus is on trauma-informed community development in Pittsburgh. They run a clothing and food pantry in the Hill District, a backpack feeding program, serve a hot meal once a week, have an emergency trauma response team that focuses on victims of gun violence, and also a free volunteer-run health clinic.