2020 Mission Trip Canceled
Due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to cancel the mission trip originally scheduled for October 4-10, 2020. The Mission Council has voted to make a donation to the Back Bay Mission in the amount of $5,000 to help make up for all the funds the Mission has lost as a result of this pandemic.
First Community is also sending a quilt from Prayers and Squares to honor retiring Executive Director, Dr. Alice Graham.
We hope you were able to join us to learn more about the Back Bay Mission through the video series “July on the Gulf Coast”. Each week in July, a First Community member interviewed someone from the Back Bay community. The videos are available to view on Facebook if you would like to learn more.
The Refugee Task Force, an ever growing group of dedicated volunteers, work each day to make sure our refugee siblings feel welcomed and loved, while also providing necessary support to our newest neighbors. They live out the Gospel by quietly walking alongside and serving some of the most marginalized of God’s beloved. Below you will find several recent updates from this ministry:
- Carol Meyer has stepped down as the Chair of the RTF. Please join us in thanking Carol for her years of service to this ministry and help us welcome Mary Buzby as the new chair. What a blessing these women are to the First Community family and our refugee community.
- The RTF has given over $10,000 in support this year for rental assistance, car repairs, drivers education training, clothing, household items and much more.
- The refugee community has been hit very hard by CoVid and funds are running low. If you would like to contribute to this important work, please consider a donation.
- Immigration Nation, a new Netflix special, will air on August 3 and Episode 5 will feature the story of our own Deborah Jane and her 4 children. Make sure to watch and tell your friends! We hope this will shed much-needed light on the plight of our immigrant and refugee siblings and encourage other congregations to become involved with the immigrants and refugees in their own communities. It will take all of us to build the beloved community God calls us to, a community where all are welcomed, no human being is illegal, and parents seeking shelter and safety are not separated from their children.
- Members of the RTF participated in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s Virtual Advocacy Days in July. They “visited” Ohio elected officials in group meetings with other constituents to discuss policies affecting immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Steve Stiver’s legislative aide used First Community, and the RTF, as an example of how advocates can bring issues to the attention of their elected officials and work together to help solve them. We are thankful for the relationship we’ve formed with Congressman Stiver’s office and look forward to our continued collaboration on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
Share and Learn Garden
The Share and Learn Garden at First Community North continues to flourish despite the intense heat of the summer. Volunteers care for the plants in small, socially-distanced groups, when the students are not in classes at Mary Evans. Despite these necessary changes to their normal procedures, the group continues to provide a sense of community for all volunteers involved.
The volunteers and gardens will be featured in an upcoming series of videos. “In the Garden” will air on Facebook Mondays at 7 pm. Enjoy some recent photos from the garden.
As the world struggles to cope with the realities of COVID-19 Pandemic, the Tandana Foundation is working to help with solutions to slow the spread of disease in Mali and Ecuador.
Click here to read their latest update.
This month, the Mission Council has voted to award the Tandana Foundation with a grant of $5,000 to help them continue this process. The grant will allow them to buy and transport supplies for more hand-washing stations in 3 affected villages.
Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart continues to provide service to clients despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The grocery shopping style of service has been replaced with a pre-bagged drive-thru model that has proven to be effective. In total, we were able to safely serve 444 families in the month of July.
This is, in part, due to the success of our Pop-Up Pantry days. A small group of volunteers recently launched an effort to bring needed food and supplies to those who were unable to visit the pantry. This group has been setting up the Pop-Up Pantry on Wednesdays at different subsidized housing faciltiies. They have had much success, serving 99 families in the month of July alone.
We are blessed to have the support of the church and community in providing necessary resources to those in need. If you are interested in learning more or signing up to volunteer for any opportunity, visit h2h.FCchurch.com, or follow one of the links.