Loving and serving our neighbors in need — locally and around the world — is a priority at First Presbyterian. Here are some of the missions we actively give our time, talent, and treasure to support:
It is estimated that on any given day there are at least 2,000 homeless living in and around Palm Beach County. Many who work with the homeless believe the actual number is two or three times greater than this. It is believed that at least a third of this number is made up of children. Everyone agrees that the issue of homelessness is complex indeed. One of the vital links in helping families emerge from a cycle of homelessness is a network known as Family Promise.
This program not only provides shelter and food for families, but it also offers, through counseling and a mentoring program, aid to families so they can get back on their feet.
Every night, somewhere in Palm Beach County, families are sleeping and being fed in a local church. Twice a year First Presbyterian Church takes our turn among the congregations, sheltering and feeding families for a week. Contact the church to discover how you can become involved.
To date more than 50 families in our area have broken the pattern of homelessness and are no longer living on the street.
Real Life Children’s Ranch
Sixty years ago a couple who operated a day care center, had three siblings abandoned at their center at the end of the day. Because the couple had been given the wrong contact information and the children were unable to give any assistance, the couple was confronted with a dilemma. Looking around for a safe environment for these little ones, they discovered there was no place for them. And so it was that the Children’s Ranch began in Okeechobee.
Now, this many years later, literally hundreds of boys and girls have passed through the Ranch. Living in a home-like environment, these children are not only fed, clothed, and sheltered, but are loved and cared for by house parents. They attend the public schools in Okeechobee and participate in various community-wide activities. This Christ-centered place introduces the children and young people to the love and grace of God.
Along with food and other supplies, our congregation provides financial support and goes to the Ranch a few times a year to offer some much needed labor.
For more information or to join a work team, please contact the church office.
Edna Runner Tutorial Center and the Food for Families Program
So many children in Jupiter are in urgent need of a safe environment following the school day and on holidays because their parents are working. Through the vision of one woman, Edna Runner, the Edna Runner Tutorial Center was born. Every afternoon, nearly a hundred children – kindergarten through eighth grade – come to the center in west Jupiter. In addition to receiving a much needed snack, they are helped with homework and enjoy a place to recreate.
We have also started a Food for Families program at the Center. It is hard to believe that in an affluent community like Jupiter, we can find those that are going hungry, but they are there. Many of the children rely on the free breakfast and lunch they receive at school. For many, that is the only time they eat. Evenings and weekends are especially difficult for these families. Our mission is to ease that burden. Every two-three weeks, our volunteers spend their time purchasing food from a food bank in Ft. Lauderdale or Costco, sorting the food after church, and then delivering the food to the families. Delivery is a special time where we interact directly with the families and see the need and impact of this program. Each family receives not only food, but a prayer blessing and the outpouring of God’s grace to them at each delivery.
Whether it be helping with tutoring at the Center, buying and sorting food, delivering food, or donating gently-used clothing and personal items, this mission is simply not possible without volunteers. There are many different aspects to this ministry, but many hands make light work! Everyone can help in one way or another. With your help, we can accomplish great things. Do you feel called to be the hands and feet of Jesus today? Sign up and help as you are able!
To sign up to help with the Food for Families Program, simply click this link http://signup.com/login/entry/1269811394491680124. You can also contact Jocelyn O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim O’Neill at email@example.com.
Annual Mission Projects
Each year, we support seasonal projects by donating food, money, and gifts to needy adults, children and families. These include:
- Souper Bowl of Caring Food Drive: Each Super Bowl Sunday, the youth hold a major drive to donate food items to CROS Ministries Jupiter Food Pantry. This is in addition to the weekly items our congregation donates in a collection box by the entrance to our sanctuary.
- Bunny Drive: For the past five years, we have collected new stuffed bunnies and other animals to give to the children in St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital on Easter morning.
- Thanksgiving Dinners: Numerous families in our community who could not afford a Thanksgiving dinner are provided all the fixings for one, thanks to the generosity of individuals in our congregation.
- Operation Christmas Child: Our members fill shoeboxes with toys, toothbrushes, toothpaste, crayons, games, and other items each November. These shoeboxes are sent to needy children around the world in an international relief effort organized by Samaritan’s Purse.
- Angel Tree: Children in our community receive the gifts they request and clothing in their sizes under their Christmas trees — purchased and wrapped by our members. For most of these children and youth, these are their only presents.
Is there any more enjoyable way to serve than to volunteer in our Ushering Program on Sunday morning? To become a part of this vital outreach, please contact the church office.
God’s love in action. This lay-driven, confidential ministry provides one-on-one care to individuals in our community who are experiencing difficulties. The loss of a loved one, hospitalization, divorce, unemployment, a chronic illness, and aging are a few of the areas in which trained “care-givers” are equipped to offer spiritual and emotional care. For more information, please contact the church office.