Presbyterian Women has opened its annual grant applications for its Benevolence Fund. Preference is given to agencies working to break the cycles of poverty, illiteracy and inferior education, violence, and crime, particularly as these issues have a heavy impact on women and children. Application deadline is March 15, and grants will be disbursed in May. If you know of an agency in need, send the agency this application link, or request an application from Cynthia Buck.
In the basement of the Poplar Street building, unknown to many FPC members, there is an area almost like a small convenience store. About 15 times a month, Loaves and Fishes volunteer crews distribute food to clients…people with a referral from Loaves and Fishes who shop and pay with points, not cash.
Many distribution volunteers are FPC members, but other churches send entire crews, and some crews include friends of our church family. The role of a distribution volunteer, in addition to assisting with food selection, is to offer respect and kindness. Three years ago, after Ross and I moved uptown, I joined the First Thursday distribution team.
Two surprises have been:
how often someone says “I don’t need any more than this, so I won’t take more. Leave it for the next person!” and
how many people ask for healthy food. They have medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension) and want to avoid salt in canned vegetables, sugar in canned fruit.
The pantry receives some fresh vegetables and fruit in deliveries from the Loaves and Fishes Warehouse, but mostly we offer canned food. I started asking clients what produce they would “buy” if available, and the answers were unexpected: strawberries (shrug), blueberries (NO), cauliflower (Never ate that!)…but YES to cabbage, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, corn, potatoes, yams.
A cost-efficient way to obtain fresh produce is to become a Second Harvest Food Bank shopper. So with FPC’s support, I attended training last November at Second Harvest so I can shop in their warehouse. There are shopping rules: you must make an appointment, time limit in the warehouse is 30 minutes, you may bring up to three helpers, and you can shop once a week.
At Second Harvest, fresh produce costs $.03/lb. On a January visit, I bought 20 pounds of potatoes and a large shopping bag filled with onions. The cost was $1.11. Moreover, they were offering free orange juice, so I also brought back 16 large carafes of orange juice.
On a second trip in January, I bought 30 pounds of onions, 10 bags of carrots, 12 pounds sweet potatoes and 23 pounds of bananas—all for $2.46. When Operations Manager Jim Tyndall saw the bananas he warned of fruit flies if they stayed in the building too long. Not a problem. All the bananas “sold” within the first hour of the afternoon shift
Want to help?
Distribution shifts are Wed-Thurs-Fri 1-4 pm, and Sat 9-12. There are also Delivery crews (who receive and unpack supplies from Loaves and Fishes), one Thursday and two Tuesdays, 9:30–11 am. Contact Diane Carey for more information.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. We’ll place a plastic bin in the hallway outside the FPC kitchen for toothbrush and toothpaste donations. These items are rarely available in the Pantry and will be very appreciated. Thanks!
First Presbyterian Church Weekday School, a half-day preschool program, is currently enrolling for fall 2019. The Weekday School serves 215 children (ages 13 months to 5 years old) from September to May. To learn more about registration, please click here.
Fellowship is an important part of who we are as a church family. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to uphold and support one another in faith and love. To further facilitate our fellowship connections here at First Presbyterian Church, we will be starting small group Fellowship Feasts. Similar to the previous Four by Four groups, if you are interested, you will be grouped with a total of 8 individuals (couples and singles) and encouraged to gather in fellowship four times over the next six months. The nature and location of your gathering is completely up to you – pizza and football, a formal dinner at someone’s home, bowling, etc. The hope is that by being introduced to a new small group of church members we may further our ties to one another and grow in faith and fellowship.
If you are interested in joining a Fellowship Feasts group, please sign up here or email Mary Margaret Porters and we will be in touch.
FPC Missions for Haiti is collecting new, hooded bath towels for newborns. The towels will be added to supply bags for expectant mothers and taken to Bayonnais during our February mission trip. There will be a box in Wood Fellowship Hall where you can leave the towels. Merci beaucoup!
For its tenth year, the lunch and discussion series with First United Presbyterian Church takes on the subject Can Life Be Fair? What Does Our Faith Say? The series runs for four weeks, features speakers such as the Reverend Dr. Rodney Sadler and de’Angelo Dia, and will alternate between FPC and FUPC at 406 North College Street. to encourage younger people to attend, this year we’ll have a “JUNIOR discount” for the lunch. The cost remains a very affordable $5, but if you’re 50 or younger, it’s just $1!
February 3: Can Life Be Fair? The Reverend Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor of Bible, Union Presbyterian Seminary, gives an overview of the oscillating history of racism in the U.S., illustrating African American gains and subsequent loses. What have been some of the responses to the losses? What biblical lessons inspire progress? At FPC.
February 10: Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter? Donna Fair, Wellness Ministry Director at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, brings us videos of the Black Lives Matter Movement founders and the Video Raising a Black Son. At FUPC.
February 24: Build the Wall! Federico Rios, International & Integration Manager of the City of Charlotte provides a look at the truth about immigration, both locally and nationally, and what people like us can do. At FUPC.
March 3: Can Life Be Fair? A Faithful Response. de’Angelo Dia, Advocacy Coordinator for the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte speaks on perspective and personal transformation.
Fellowship is an important part of who we are as a church family. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to uphold and support one another in faith and love. To further facilitate our fellowship connections here at First Presbyterian Church, we will be starting small group Fellowship Feasts. Similar to the previous Four by Four groups, if you are interested, you will be grouped with a total of 8 individuals (couples and singles) and encouraged to gather in fellowship four times over the next six months. The nature and location of your gathering is completely up to you – pizza and football, a formal dinner at someone’s home, bowling, etc. The hope is that by being introduced to a new small group of church members, we may strengthen our ties to one another and grow in faith and fellowship.
If you are interested in joining a Fellowship Feasts group, please email Mary Margaret Porter and we will be in touch.
Plan now to be part of the mission trip to Bayonnais, Haiti. The cost for the trip will be $1300-1400, and scholarship support is available. Contact Glenna Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org, 704.651.8017) or Amy Hockett (email@example.com, 704.277.3223) for information.