“You Just Never Know!”

by Lynette Sparks

feed those in needOne Saturday this summer at Dining Room Ministry, a guest came up to me and asked, “Can you tell me who’s in charge here?” Whenever anyone asks me anything like that, my mind goes many directions! You just never know what the next question will be. Will it be a complaint? Is something wrong? What surprise might be waiting that I don’t really want to know about? Or is it something else?

That day was no exception. In the course of a few split seconds, I thought all of those things. Then I replied with a very cautious “How can I help you?”

The man proceeded to tell me he knew what it was like to need food and assistance, because he was once homeless and once in need of assistance. He expressed his profound thanks to God, giving the credit for helping him escape his former plight. He had provided transportation to our Dining Room Ministry for some others who needed a free hot meal this particular day.

Then he put his foot up on a bench, reached into his sock, pulled out a wad of cash, and handed me a $100 bill. It was for our Dining Room Ministry, he said. Could I make sure it got to where it needed to go? He gave thanks for the faithfulness of the church and for all of the volunteers who lovingly serve this meal every Saturday.

He wouldn’t tell me his name, not even his first name. He just wanted to share out of the abundance God had shared with him.

Why Outreach? Because in spite of preconceptions and assumptions about people that we all carry, you just never know when it will actually be Jesus who shows up!

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More Than Just Food – Making a Difference in People’s Lives

Joshua Wilcox, Kay Ramsey, and Andrea Clark

Feeding people who don’t have enough money to buy food is certainly an important ministry, but helping these same people obtain health related services is equally beneficial.

Kay Ramsay, Director of the Food Cupboard ministry at Third Presbyterian Church, organized participation in a University of Rochester, grant-funded project, designed to link people to needed medical services and hopefully, thereby, reduce visits to emergency rooms for medical care.

During the month of April, Health Worker (CHW) Andrea Clarke and Intern Joshua Wilcox, from the Center for Community Health, staffed a health Continue reading

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Spreading Warmth

by Susan Vaala

Thermometer showing freezing temperatureIt was one of those really cold days at the end of March.  The temperature hovered around 18 degrees when the Food Cupboard opened its doors that morning and guests crowded in, glad for warmth of the room and the hot coffee.  Volunteers had packed bags of food and lined them up for distribution and arranged the display of “choice items.”  We were ready to go!  Thirty-five people would be served that day. Continue reading

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Wow! 260 Children Fed

Box overflowing with food

On the weekend of December 17th, 2016, 84 families from Third Church delivered meals to 84 families in Rochester’s poorest neighborhoods! Those numbers are impressive, but what do they really mean? They mean that 260 children had a healthy, well-balanced meal at a time of the month when food stamps start to run low. They mean that these families, including 28 headed by single mothers and grandmothers, Continue reading

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Why We Tutor

Tutoring silhouetteTutoring can be a frustrating undertaking.  Between teachers who do not seem to understand the need to fill a volunteers time slot ASAP or the volunteers will go elsewhere, and tutors who do not follow the plan for the student, flack from the school district about when students are being tutored, sometimes it is very hard to find the motivation to do the job.  Continue reading

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Hope for Homeless Families

Graphic of family of 4We hear plenty about poverty in Rochester and with regard to homeless families, our RAIHN program is making a huge difference. RAIHN (Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network) is a network of 42 different faith organizations who collaborate to serve homeless families with children. Some congregations (“host congregations”) open their facilities to house the families for a week, while other congregations (“support congregations”) partner with host congregations and provide volunteers. RAIHN is an affiliate of Family Promise, which has 80 networks in 41 states and has served over 700,000 people since 1988.

It is often difficult for homeless families to find shelter as a group. RAIHN is dedicated to keeping families together while helping them find permanent housing. Continue reading

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Rescued From the Street

by Louis Loggi

Mother and child on the sidewalk

Homeless and on the streets.

A family searches for a place to stay on a cold evening…… sounds like the beginning of a familiar holiday story perhaps, but it is a cold reality for many in Rochester. You can easily picture the scenario:

An unexpected illness or car repair which ruins the limited budget, not enough cash so some bills go unpaid, the scrambling to recover until the next paycheck. Sometimes the scrambling is not enough and families lose their housing.

This is one of the faces of homelessness, albeit not the stereotypical one.

All of these situations create a short term housing crisis for families in Rochester. Continue reading

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