Out of the strong conviction that our resources should be used not merely to benefit ourselves but also to benefit others, the session of DPC decided to dedicate a portion of all un-designated gifts given to the Forward Together! Capital Campaign to mission work. Below is a list of projects that we have committed to sponsor.
Forward Together! Capital Campaign
In 1999, Hunting Park Christian Academy opened its doors in Philadelphia with the mission of providing “an affordable, quality, Christian education that celebrates a diverse community and leads children to know and serve the Lord.” Starting with 70 students, it now has a student body of 200 students for grades Pre-Kindergarten through grade 8. In the community HPCA serves, there is a 53% high school dropout rate with 45% of the families living at or below the federal poverty level. Tuition is $2,000 per year and it is not unusual for children who attend one year to become unable to continue due to family finances. Because of this, we will be covering the tuition cost for four children for ten years each at HPCA, thus preparing them for success in high school and beyond. For a video glimpse in to the life of students at Hunting Park Christian Academy, click here.
The final Forward Together! capital campaign project focuses on providing shelter locally to our neighbors. In fall 2014, we contributed $35,000 towards the building costs of a 4 bedroom town home in Sellersville, which will become the home to a family from Ghana with two adults and four children (ages 8,7, and 4 year old twins). They are currently living in a 2 bedroom apartment, and the father works at a local hospital. As a way to further our engagement with this project, DPC members volunteered their time this fall to help with the building of the home, which should be completed in the spring. Habitat for Humanity was founded at Doylestown Presbyterian Church 25 years ago, and this is a great opportunity for us to celebrate this long-standing relationship.
Code Blue started several years ago in Central Bucks in response to the need for shelter for homeless individuals in our community on very cold nights. Doylestown Presbyterian is a designated Code Blue site one month each winter, and members have become involved and invested in many capacities, including staffing the shelter, cooking meals, raising money, and donating materials. Last year, Code Blue purchased a van so it would be able to pick up homeless individuals around the county who can't walk to the sites. While this was a huge asset for the organization and our community, the car and interest payments were also a burden. This fall, Doylestown Presbyterian Church paid the remainder of the loan on the vehicle, which was about $12,000, and set up an additional $3,000 maintenance fund. Now the organization can continue to invest their resources into directly helping the homeless in need in our community.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 children die each day in the world, mostly under the age of 5, from diseases caused by unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation facilities. One group with a strong track record of responding to that need is World Vision, a “Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tacking the causes of poverty and injustice.” Its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program seeks to reduce the estimated 884 million people world- wide who lack access to safe water and the 2.5 billion without basic sanitation. The Kenya WASH program seeks to bring improved water supplies to 338,000 people in 12 locations where currently only 25% of the population has access to safe water. As part of the Forward Together campaign, DPC partnered with a community in Kenya to offer the financial resources necessary to drill a borehole well and provide a water pump and pump house for a community water system. After this equipment is installed, World Vision will work to empower the the community to embrace a culture of safe water, teaching them to maintain the pump and water system and to generate the income needed to make repairs when necessary. DPC completed its participation in this project in spring 2014.
To read more about this project, view the most recent Kenya WASH Newsletter.
DPC has a long history with the Community Pantry. Yearly mission trips have given church members the opportunity to work in the pantry and see first-hand their ministry of providing food to more than 2,300 households each month. Additional gifts from our church provided the resources necessary for a cistern in 2011 and ongoing support of its backpack food program since 2006, which ensures that school-age children will have food over each weekend. The Hope Garden is an ongoing aspect of the Community Pantry’s ministry which supplements the food given to families in need by providing fresh produce while also educating the public about health sustenance and enhancement. Through a partnership with the local soil and water conservation agency, the Community Pantry has built four hoop houses (heavy-duty greenhouses) in which produce is grown. Our contribution allowed for the Hope Garden plan to be completed through the construction of two additional hoop houses for vegetables and a berm to provide wind protection from winds that at times can reach 50 mph. It also included the purchase of fruit-producing trees, shrubs, and grasses, fill dirt and topsoil for areas inside the berm and hoop houses, irrigation equipment, Bobcat time, and project management for nine months to make the effort a reality. We completed this project in the fall of 2013.
To see pictures of the Hope Garden, see the photo album on DPC's Facebook page from our 2012 trip to the Community Pantry.
To further strengthen the fund established with our first capital campaign, we will add whatever mission dollars come in beyond the amounts required for the above projects to the endowment established for mission needs that are ongoing or surface in the future.