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Outreach

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;
and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

The Outreach Committee serves the vision and mission of Saint Matthew’s through this objective:

Reaching Out to Share God’s Love with Our Neighbors, Near & Far.

Key Statistics in 2015

Chairperson: Marcia Rugen

Coordinators: 

  • Easter Egg Hunt – Tracey Kelly
  • Hunger Initiatives –
    • LINK (Marcia Rugen, Heidi Lathrop)
    • Backpack Buddies (Kelly Brennan, Carol Black)
    • Thanksgiving Luncheon and Bimonthly Community Lunches (Sandra Gentry, Wilma Sargent, Pam Hart)
    • Easter Baskets (Darrell Breed)
    • Thanksgiving Baskets (Darrell Breed)
    • Star Tree for LINK Toy Distribution - Merry and Darrell Breed
    • Mission Possible – Heidi Lathrop and Trevor Black
    • Yard Sales – Wilma Sargent and Daryl Coleman
    • BEARS Reading Program at Rolling Ridge – individuals

Major Activities, Events, or Accomplishments in 2015

Overall Hunger Initiatives in 2015

Backpack Buddies

  • Provided support to local school children that have been identified as needing additional food over the weekend. They receive a backpack filled with six meals each weekend during the school year.
  • We started providing meals for 45 backpacks in January, 2012. St. Matt’s is currently providing weekend food support to over 215 school aged children at 8 local elementary schools each week during the school year
  • We have received support from several outside parties throughout the year including independent fundraisers, Girl Scouts, businesses, etc.
  • We also provided food for up to 31 children (2 bags each) each week for an 8 week period during the summer reading program at Potowmack ES.
  • Strengthened the partnership with LINK who has been providing food that has come in through the School Rescue the Food program as well as Capital Area Food Bank.

LINK

  • Provided food for LINK all year round with an emphasis on our month to collect, May. The pantry remained well stocked during the normally low summer months.
  • Additionally, St. Matthew’s provided a $750 donation to LINK to purchase perishable food gift certificates.
  • Made deliveries to 76 families and 329 people served, and $1,670 in gift cards distributed.
  • November 29 The Sunday Night Live Youth Group sorted food for the December Food Distribution for the LINK pantry at Christ Redeemer (aka The Cave).
  • LINK’s overall distribution for Thanksgiving and Christmas:
    • Thanksgiving Distribution: More than 50,000 pounds of food was collected and donated to LINK so that we could provide more than 700 families food for 3-5 days. Thousands of gently used coats, scarves, hats, mittens, and winter clothing were distributed. LINK was able to give $20,000 in grocery gift cards to the families.
    • Christmas Food Distribution LINK served over 700 families (food to last 3-5 days. Families also received over $20,000 in grocery gift cards. More than 4,500 new toys were given to children from newborn through 17 years of age.
  • “Love your neighbor, Feed Your Neighbor:” St. Matt’s was one of several faith-based organizations involved in collecting food for this county-wide hunger awareness initiative. St. Matthew’s collected several thousand pounds of food for LINK and Backpack Buddies during this initiative in May, 2015.
  • Bi-Monthly Community Luncheons: St. Matt’s continued the free Community Luncheons for the community and drew over 100 people to each event. A new addition to this program this year was a book give away and was well received.
  • Community Thanksgiving Luncheon: Served over 200 people for Thanksgiving with the help of over 50 volunteers. Countless volunteer hours and food donations made the whole event a huge success.
  • Local Community Hunger: Working closely with Pilar Acosta, community advocate, we compiled a list of very needy local families. Through the generosity of St. Matt’s we provided essential food and supplies to local families in need via Easter Baskets and Thanksgiving Bags.

Local Community Initiatives

  • Community Easter Egg Hunt: In spite of record cold temperatures, the event was held at Briar Patch Park for community children the week before Easter. We had an Easter Bunny, face painting, games, and 2 Easter Egg Hunts. Hundreds of community children attended and enjoyed this event.
  • Giving Tree: In 2015 we collected over 560 gifts from St. Matthew’s families for the LINK toy distribution and provided gifts directly to 11 local families.
  • Community Sales: Our community sales have served many Outreach purposes: 
    • Raised money to support Backpack Buddies.
    • Provided gently-used items at a very low cost to the community. 
    • Provided incentive to get closets cleaned out.
    • Hosted a Saint Matthew’s senior lunch and bingo
    • Helped a parishioner with tasks at her home
    • Provided vouchers to our ACTS families so that they may receive free items.
    • Provided Coats for Link.
    • Provided stuff animals to a local school program.
    • Provided clothing to Mount Mission School, Feed the Street and Sterling’s UMC.
    • Provided opportunity for bonding and connecting with others.
    • Spring Community Yard Sale (April) - We raised $2,400 plus sixteen $20 vouchers.
    • Fall Community Yard Sale (October) - We raised $2,000 plus twenty-three $20 vouchers.
  • BEARS Reading Program at Rolling Ridge : St. Matthew’s volunteers tutor at Rolling Ridge once a week.
  • Mission Possible: Mission Possible is a week-long volunteer camp for rising 5th-8th graders. It is a week filled with a mixture of outreach work and a lot of fun & fellowship.
  • Volunteer Farm: St. Matt’s provided financial support for the Volunteer Farm along with a handful volunteers who gave of their Saturday to go assist at the farm.

Goals and Objectives for 2016

  • Strengthen Backpack Buddies Initiative - obtain additional outside funding to grow the program, train other organizations, get more people involved in food collections and packing.
  • Strengthen our commitment to the Sterling and Loudoun County area through ongoing support of the LINK, Holiday Coalition, Mission Possible, Community Sales, and ACTS program.
  • Have one person on the Committee responsible for communications - FB, Website, local events sites, news releases.
  • Develop new Outreach leaders and subcommittees.
  • Work with Youth Leader to develop additional opportunities for our youth to participate in community outreach.

Join Us!

If you are interested in helping out with Outreach, please reach out to Marcia Rugen. We could really use your help!