Doylestown Presbyterian Church members of all ages are actively engaged in giving back to those in need in our community and around the world.
Our congregation has long participated in Alternative Giving at Christmastime as a way to support organizations doing good while shopping for gifts for our loved ones. This year, we decided to adopt this same idea for Mother's Day and sell cards to support Tabor Children's Services in Doylestown, thus honoring our own mothers and grandmothers while at the same time helping those in need in the community. Over 2 weeks, DPC raised $270, which will help to purchase diapers, formula, and other baby supplies for at-risk children and mothers in our area. We hope to be able to continue to support organizations doing important work for those in need in our community through Alternative Giving during special holidays.
A group of 12 DPC members traveled to Schoharie, NY for a four-day mission trip in April to help repair homes damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irene. On the third trip members of our congregation have made to Schoharie, they installed plumbing lines, a toilet, and a vanity in a bathroom, gutted part of a house down to the studs, cleared debris off of land where a barn once stood, and painted a large three bay garage. Many of the owners of the homes on which they worked shared their heart-wrenching stories of living through Hurricane Irene and expressed their heartfelt appreciation for our congregation's help and support. It was a renewing and inspirational experience for all those who attended. To view additional pictures from the trip, please visit the DPC Events and Services page on Shutterfly.com. If you would like to be a member of the page, please contact Lorri Camilleri in the church office.
A group of DPC members made a trip to West Philadelphia in March to help make repairs to a home through the Christian organization The Other Carpenter, which is now an arm of Habitat for Humanity. The group replaced 3 windows in an upstairs bedroom, dry-walled a closet on the first floor, and partially replaced the living room ceiling with new dry-wall. The home-owner worked alongside the group to make the repairs, giving them an opportunity to get to know her. The next mission trip to Philadelphia with The Other Carpenter will be on Saturday, June 15.
This winter, the Presbyterian Women's group collected over 350 purses for a fundraising event on March 2 to benefit Change Purse, an organization that works to fight human trafficking. The event raised $950, which Change Purse distributed to faith-based organizations that work directly with potential and rescued victims, as well as survivors, of sex trafficking.
At the Presbyterian Women Funcheon this past month, attendees pooled their resources together to help support mothers living on Native American reservations in New Mexico who are part of the F.A.C.E., program, which provides educational and family support to young Navajo children and their mothers. Living in one of the poorest counties in the country, many of these women struggle to provide even the basics for their families and have no formal education to help them get out of the cycle of poverty in which they are stuck. In an effort to help them get on their feet, PW filled a basket with baby care materials worth over $600, as well as collected $575 to help fund G.E.D. tests for women enrolled in the program.
Thank you to everyone who used their day "off" as a day "on" and volunteered for one of our MLK Day service opportunities in January. Over 85 DPC members of all ages participated, in addition to many who offered their time and talents in other places. A large group traveled to Broad Street Ministries over the holiday weekend, where we served a meal to struggling and homeless individuals and helped hand out clothing in their clothes closet. Another DPC group offered a hand at Bucks County Housing Group in Doylestown organizing and stocking their food pantry, and many others packed over 600 meals for Aid for Friends in the Andrews Hall kitchen. This was a wonderful opportunity to show care and concern for those in need in our community!
With winter upon us, Club 456 recently worked to warm the hearts of homebound elderly residents in our community. The children spent an evening helping to make several types of soup for Aid for Friends, and everyone created greeting cards to accompany the meals. In addition to their gifts for Aid for Friends, the young people created place mats to go on the trays of patients at St. Mary's Medical Center.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Doylestown Presbyterian Church members took time to remember those in need in our surrounding community. In just a few short weeks, the congregation collected over 1,000 pairs of underwear and other items for Undie Sunday, which were donated to guests of Broad Street Ministries in Philadelphia; assembled 65 hygiene kits for Hurricane Sandy victims; provided 155 gifts for Aid for Friends' Holiday Gifts of Warmth for the homebound elderly; and contributed 135 Christmas gifts to people in our community who are in need this holiday season through the church's Giving Trees. This is in addition to all of the wonderful food donations that continued to come in to support our local food pantries. Many DPC members also chose to purchase gifts for their loved ones and friends at the Alternative Giving Market during Advent, helping to support many great charitable organizations, including Heifer International, World Vision, PalCraft Aid, Habitat for Humanity, Nothing but Nets, Americans for Native Americans, and a handful of others.
Many thanks to everyone who helped to make these mission endeavors a success!
In the beginning of September, the Doylestown Food Pantry, run by the Bucks County Housing Group, was running extremely low on food for the nearly 500 families it serves each month, and they issued a call of help to the community. In response, our youth in Club 456 and Element sprung in to action and collected over 300 pounds of food during September and October. A group of teens helped to deliver the collected items to the food pantry the week of Thanksgiving and spent time volunteering to organize and stock shelves. There was a lot to be done. Since the pantry's call for help just a few short months ago, they have received nearly 25,000 of food in just November alone!
Amidst a hectic week filled with shopping, cooking, and preparing for Thanksgiving, a group of 10 DPC adults and children spent time the weekend before the holiday packing baskets of Thanksgiving food at the Bucks County Housing Group in Penndel for those in our community who struggle with hunger. Over 400 families received baskets this year, 130 of which DPC had the opportunity to assemble.
A group of 20 DPC members and friends traveled to New Mexico together during the fourth week of October on a mission trip to help others and learn about southwest culture. While there, they had the special opportunity to volunteer at the Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico, and take part in the dedication of the organization's Hope Garden, whose creation DPC funded through the mission component of the Forward Together campaign. The pantry has made amazing progress on the garden, and many in the group were able to lend a hand in its care, harvesting 70 pounds of tomatoes, watering plants and beds, and digging holes for and planting over 50 trees. Others worked inside the pantry, sorting and packing over 5000 pounds of produce for the pantry's clients, compiling hundreds of boxes of food for hungry families, and putting together food for the school backpack program, which provides nourishment to children who have nothing to eat on the weekends while they are not in school. DPC also supports this program.
The Community Pantry serves over 2,300 families each month in rural northwest New Mexico, which includes 29 chapters of the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Pueblo. It is the only organization in the area focused on food insecurity. The trip was a wonderful opportunity for DPC members to continue to develop a strong, meaningful relationship with the Pantry, as well as to see first-hand how our financial contributions have helped countless others and to give of our time and talents.
In addition to volunteering at the pantry, the DPC group saw many southwest cultural sites during the trip, stopping at two Navajo schools, the Acoma Pueblo, El Morro National Monument, the Zuni Pueblo, and Canyon de Chelly.
To view more pictures from the group's time at the Community Pantry and a video clip from the dedication ceremony, please visit our the Facebook trip photo album.
As a way to reach out to others all around the world this holiday season, Club 456 recently collected toys, school supplies, personal items, and other small gifts, which they packed in to 50 shoeboxes to send as gifts to children living in poverty around the world for Christmas. These gifts will travel by plane, train, bus, car, and maybe even by camel or donkey to get to these special children.
As special thank you to all of the DPC members and families who participated in this wonderful project!
DPC members of all ages participated in the Doylestown area CROP Walk on Sunday, October 14 as a way to raise money and awareness about the countless people who are hungry in our community and around the world. The 6-mile walk around Doylestown is meant to be representative of the long distances that millions of people must travel each day to get clean water, food, and fuel and is a way for us to stand in solidarity with them.
In addition to Doylestown Presbyterian Church, 15 other local congregations participated in the walk. There were 18 participants from DPC, and in total we were able ot raise $1,085 to fight hunger.
This past week, many families in our church chose to use a day off of school to give back to those in need in our community. Eight children and their parents volunteered at Cradles to Crayons in West Conshohocken to sort and organize toys for homeless and at-need children living in Philadelphia.Everyone had a great time together and enjoyed the opportunity to help others.
After church on Sunday, September 23, four members of DPC volunteered to serve lunch to almost 200 hungry and homeless individuals living in Germantown, PA, through an organization called Face to Face. Face to Face treats all of those in need of a meal as guests, and offers a full sit-down meal that the volunteers prepare and serve. Guests are invited to come a couple of hours before the meal is served to spend some time interacting with each other, playing board games, drinking coffee, or just generally relaxing in a safe, warm environment. This is also a time for volunteers to get to know the clients at Face to Face.
In addition to offering meals to the hungry, Face to Face provides many other services in areas like social services, law, health, arts, and education. There are many ways for our congregation to get involved at Face to Face, helping those in our community in need.
A group of DPC members and friends traveled to Schoharie, New York, September 16th-19th to lend a hand with repair work desperately needed after many homes and other buildings were damaged in Hurricane Irene last fall.
The group was hosted by Middleburgh Methodist Church, and spent a good portion of the week removing debris from a home that had realized about 5 feet of water to the first floor. They were also able to complete all of the rough plumbing, moving the homeowner closer to being able to insulate and drywall. The homeowner, a young father, hopes to celebrate Christmas there this year.
The volunteers spent the second portion of the week stripping paneling and removing insulation from a building that originally housed the Schoharie fire department. The owner, Ben, is determined to do his part to revitalize the downtown area of the village.
The group had wonderful weather and was grateful for the hospitality from the Lady of the Valley Catholic Church and the Methodist church where they stayed. They are hoping to return in the spring for another trip.
Doylestown Presbyterian Church has been a long time supporter of the Bucks County Housing Group, which provides transitional housing and assistance to homeless families in Bucks County. This past year, our congregation provided the funding to replace the stairwell leading to second-floor apartments at BCHG's Doylestown site, which was in disrepair, not up to code, and dangerous for all of the families who used it each day. The work was completed in late August, and the families and staff at BCHG are extremely grateful for the new safe and sturdy staircase that DPC made possible.
In addition to the financial support provided through DPC's mission committee for this and similar projects in the past, DPC supports the Bucks County Housing Group's families in other ways. This fall, youth participating in Club 456 and Element will be collecting much-needed food for the organization's food pantry, and each year hundreds of families participate in the Giving Tree through the Alternative Giving program, giving members the opportunity to purchase Christmas gives for those less fortunate during the holidays.
DPC's first "Celebrate the Arts" exhibit this fall highlights mission and outreach in our community. The artwork displayed in the Celtic Cross room through November 18th is a collection of pieces created by individuals from Broad Street Ministries and Beacon Ministry, two local faith communities that utilize art-making in innovative ways to bring people of all walks of life together to share the abundant life of which Jesus speaks. Through this process, these groups of special individuals – made up of artists, students, retirees, young professionals, people struggling with homelessness, mental illness, and addiction, and many others - are reminded that we are all created in the image of God, and that we are not alone in our attempts to live into who God is calling us to be and to fill His kingdom with beauty. The process of working together in a creative way as a community has allowed the artists to push past insecurities and empower them all to share their stories honestly and accept the love of Christ.
ABOUT BROAD STREET MINISTRY
Broad Street Ministry, a faith community and non-profit located in center city Philadelphia and one of DPC's mission partners, is most known for its dynamic worship services, dedication to extending hospitality to all people, and its commitment to connecting people with social services essential for human flourishing. Every Thursday as a part its Breaking Bread lunch program, people from all demographic backgrounds come together to participate in the therapeutic arts program. The projects vary from week to week, but they all hold within them the aim of processing latent emotions, providing an escape from a distressing situation, or reintroducing a sense of play. In addition to the art program during Breaking Bread, guests have the opportunity to partake in other social services, including collecting clothing and personal care items, clothing mending, and mail services.
ABOUT BEACON MINISTRY
Beacon, a New Church Development of the PCUSA located in the greater Fishtown area of Philadelphia, hosts an art table several times a week in a different context with the same transformational results. The neighborhood where the church is located is primarily blue-collar, but is rapidly changing as young professionals are moving in and the gentrification process is moving forward. Beacon defines itself as a neighborhood faith community that invites people of all ages to grow together through arts, learning, and faith. Creative expression as a form of storytelling is a foundational aspect of their worship.
As part of the Forward Together! capital campaign, DPC has committed to supporting the Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico in the completion of its Hope Garden, which will allow the organization to provide fresh produce for needy families to whom they distribute food. DPC’s contribution to the Hope Garden is providing funds for the construction of two hoop houses (heavy-duty greenhouses) in which to grow produce; the creation of a berm to provide protection from winds that at times can reach 50 mph; and for 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.
A group from DPC will be traveling to New Mexico in October and will have the opportunity to see the progress and participate in a dedication ceremony for the Hope Garden.
A rock-lined wall has been constructed around the garden, the potato plants are blossoming, and the tomatoes are growing like crazy! In fact, so many tomatoes have grown that the Community Pantry is able to sell some to their local CSA and Farmers Market and is using the proceeds to buy other types of fresh food for their clients.
They have started planting the fall crops and are hoping to have the skins on their two newest hoop houses by the fall. They began the construction of the raised beds for the gardens this month, and will begin planting a variety of trees (apple, pear, cherry, plum, and cottonwood) this fall around the time of DPC’s visit.
The construction of the berm wall is also almost complete!
A group of 24 DPC youth and adult leaders loaded up the church vans in mid-July and headed to Tyrand Cooperative Ministries in Mill Creek, West Virginia to spend a week giving back to those in need in the Tygart Valley region of the state. Throughout the trip, the group was able to participate in a variety of projects that made a significant impact, including painting the exterior of an elderly woman’s home, garage, and porch and replacing a portion of the siding; rebuilding the walls of a church that had been demolished by strong summer storms; constructing a set of outdoor stairs for a woman’s trailer and installing a slanted roof above her home in order to keep the snow from piling up on her trailer in the wintertime; re-painting the town's youth health services building; replacing a concrete walkway at Tyrand Ministries; and planning and creating a large wooden shelter to house a family’s rabbits. In addition to this hard work, the group had the opportunity to share in fellowship and develop long-lasting friendships.
During this summer’s Vacation Bible School, the children had the special opportunity to meet Veeda Javaid, the executive director of the Presbyterian Education Board (PEB), an organization in the Punjab region of Pakistan that provides a Christian education for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to school or learn about Christ. Veeda told the children about Pakistan and the schools, as well as what life is like for the children who live there as compared to in America. The VBS students had the opportunity to ask Veeda questions throughout the presentation.
Both the children and adults were very impacted by Veeda’s presentation and decided one way they could help was to collect stuffed animals and books to send to the children living at the PEB boarding schools. In addition, Julia, Olivia, and Sophia Ferrara donated the proceeds of their lemonade stand to the cause after hearing about the needs of the Christian young people living in Pakistan.
DPC first connected with the Presbyterian Education Board last spring through the Presbyterian Women’s group and was instantly drawn towards the good work of this organization. Started by Presbyterian missionaries in the late nineteenth century, the Presbyterian Education Board also supports the SHE project, which strives to intervene in situations of abuse and violence towards children and women in Pakistan.
DPC hopes to continue to develop its relationship with the Presbyterian Education Board. For more information on the organization, please click here.
This summer DPC opened the doors of our Fellowship Hall to a wonderful group of young adults for the Special Performers Prom. Based in Doylestown, Special Performers is a nonprofit organization that strives to cultivate inclusion for the disabled community and hosts a dance once a month to give these young people a chance to spend time together, have fun, and learn to dance. The Prom is the biggest event of the year for Special Performers, and includes festive decorations, pictures, a sit-down served dinner, and dancing. The dancers and volunteers who attended all had a great experience and enjoyed their time together.
We are blessed to be able to share our new space with Special Performers, who is doing such meaningful work in our community. Such opportunities to assist outside groups will only grow as a result of our renovated and accessible facilities.