Our Wednesday evening Community Dinner mission is thriving and we are averaging between 60 and 70 guests every week. Many of those who come are old friends that have been coming since the beginning of our dinners but we are also seeing new people and more families with children. The cost of hosting this many people for dinner, even with the donations of desserts, is approximately $100 per week. The dinners are run by many volunteers from our church and are very popular. The dinners are funded by food, coupon and financial donations from local business, and are also funded by contributions by our members. We often receive donations from some of the guests but we will still need continued support to keep this program going. During January, please consider supporting our dinners.
The Reformed Church In America Feed One program helps the neediest children in the world as well as those in the United States. Feed one is asking RCA Churches to partner with them to help rid the world of childhood hunger one child at a time. The plan is simple, one church commits to feed one child — to provide the resources to feed one child (or more) for one week, one month or even one year. It costs $53 to feed one child for four months, $80 for six months, and $159 for an entire year. The statistics for childhood hunger are staggering. Hunger kills about 160,000 children per day, that is one child every five seconds. An additional 300 million children go to bed hungry every night.
Through feed one, we can start to make a difference, on child at a time. Please consider standing with the RCA feed one program and donate to this program through our Mission of the Month.
Doors of Hope is located in West Sand Lake and serves the local community as a thrift store and food pantry. Doors of Hope is crucial for many families in the area who need to bridge the gap between the money they have for food and being able to provide meals for their families. During the holiday season, Doors of Hope helps the community by helping to match families in need with organizations who are able to help them. Thirty different volunteers help out at Doors of Hope and if you stop in you will often see the familiar smiling face of different members of our congregation.
Joseph’s House in Troy is a community based not-for-profit corporation whose purpose is to prevent and alleviate homelessness. It started in 1982 to help address the needs of the increasing homeless community in Troy. In the 30 years since opening, the size of the shelter and the scope of services has increased. Services that Joseph’s House currently offers include:
- The Lansing Inn and Hill Street Inn which provide housing for adults with alcohol, drug or mental health issues.
- The Bethune Programs provide housing to 16 to 20 families with children. The emergency shelter for adults houses 24 adults.
- The emergency family shelter has 16 beds for families with children. More than 50 families with children have been sheltered each year.
- Family Resettlement and Support Services, which help people who have been in the shelter as they move into either motels or apartments paid for by social services.
- Medical & Dental Clinics for the homeless has been operating for 13 years and are staffed by volunteer nurse practitioners associated with Russell Sage College and doctors through Samaritan Hospital.
As funding for homeless programs are constantly being cut, it is important to keep these programs running through private donations. Please consider making a donation to Joseph’s House during April.
Capital Roots runs Community Gardens, with approximately 900 garden plots in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Southern Saratoga counties. These gardens are all organic and they offer gardening and culinary classes. Their “Veggie-Mobiles” run on biofuel and the refrigerators use solar power from retrofitted solar panels. Capital Roots also has the “Produce Project” , a year-round job training program for inner city youth. Capital Roots provides affordable produce available at partnering small businesses in urban areas in the Capital District through their “Healthy Stores” program. “Squash Hunger” is another project, where donated produce is collected and distributed to local food pantries and shelters supplying fresh produce to those who need it. You can visit their website for more information at capitalroots.org.
The idea of the Barefoot College began late in the 1960’s when a small group of educated youth started looking for alternative ways to address the poverty in rural India. Some of these youth decided to go and live in these rural villages to be closer to the problem. In order to help, they needed to start a dialog between the “educated expert” and the village farmers and this dialog had to be one of mutual respect. It is called “Barefoot” because all over the world the rural poor walk barefoot. The College believes that for any rural development activity to be successful and sustainable, it must be based in the village as well as managed and owned by those whom it serves. Rural men and women of all ages, who are barely literate or not at all, and have no hope of getting even the lowest government job, are being trained to work as day and night school teachers, doctors, midwives, dentists, health workers, solar engineers, solar cooker engineers, water drillers, hand pump mechanics, architects, artisans, designers, masons, communicators, water testers, phone operators, blacksmiths, carpenters, computer instructors and accountants. The Barefoot College is training these people to work in the villages where they live and bring themselves out of poverty.
Hope 7 Community Center was founded in 1968 and is located on Pawling Avenue in Troy. The mission of Hope 7 is to provide life essential services to community members. Currently they have five children’s childcare programs, a food pantry, and community outreach services. They depend upon the community for support – be it individuals, businesses, or local church and school groups – with their assistance ranging from cash and food donations to organizing larger scale food drives and fundraisers. The food pantry opened in 1987. It wasn’t long before they were busting at the seams and their gracious neighbors at Pawling Avenue United Methodist Church offered them an area in their church basement.
In 2015, an average of 141 families reached out to Hope 7 for help each month, with many returning for unlimited visits for produce and bread. That is 1 new family a day coming to the pantry! They provided 341 different families, made up of 1,108 people (50% of whom were children), with supplies for over 42,000 meals! The majority of their support comes from donations from community organizations, schools and churches. The pantry is always in need of donations to keep feeding the families who rely on them We can help by giving to the Mission of the Month.
Albany Ronald McDonald House provides a haven of comfort, love, hope and support – free of charge – for critically ill children and their families. We want to enable family-centered care by keeping children close to their families during a time of hardship. The Family Room and Family Suite offer families respite and support within the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, close to their ill child and his/her caregivers. Our Dental Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, in partnership with St. Peter’s Health Care Services, provides free, comprehensive dental care to under-served and underinsured young students. Our community-based Grants Program supports other local charitable organizations and programs that directly improve the lives of children.
Church World Service was established in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. Seventeen denominations came together to form an agency “to do in partnership what none of us could hope to do as well alone.” The mission: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, shelter the homeless. More than 70 years later the mission remains, though where and how we accomplish it has changed dramatically. Church World Service has worked for seven decades with one goal: building a world where there is enough for all. Church World Service affirms the power of individuals and communities to take ownership of their future. They meet the people right where they are, helping to create solutions they can maintain – and build on. That means a refugee family who is able to start a new life. Or someone rebuilding after a disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey, finds safety with dignity. Church World Services believes that there is enough food, water and justice for everyone in our world. Their work to build alliances among faith groups, civil society, advocates and those in need, and provide programs and services that are impactful, is as critical now as it ever has been. In the past year alone, they have been able to make differences in tens of thousands of lives in more than 30 countries. Please give generously to our Mission this month. Thank you! You can visit their website for more information at cwsglobal.org.
Heifer International has been active for more than 70 years working to end poverty around the world. They have worked in 125 countries to help families lift themselves out of the poverty they are living in. In November we will be collecting offerings to purchase animals for families through Heifer. You will be able to specify a particular animal gift by indicating your choice on your Mission of the Month envelope or let the mission committee choose for you. The choices are a flock of geese for $20.00, a flock of chicks for $20.00, a flock of ducks for $20.00, honey bees for $30.00, a trio of rabbits for $60.00, a sheep for $120.00 and a goat for $120.00. You may donate toward a share any of these animals or a whole animal. We will have a chart in Fellowship Hall to track our progress. Please consider donating to this worthwhile mission.
Troy Area United Ministries, founded in 1986 as a consolidation of the United Urban Ministry of Troy and Troy Area Council of Churches, meets immediate needs of homeless persons, women and dependent children fleeing domestic violence, persons living with HIV/AIDS, youth, those who are food insecure, and low income persons. Here, people of spirit, justice and care work together to build the spiritual and social well-being of people in the Troy Area. Over 300 volunteers serve in a year’s time. Our very active Board of Directors represents local congregations and the community at large. Ministries include a used furniture program, lunchs and dinners at the Damien Center, campus ministries at Russell Sage College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. events, and the Rensselaer County Crop Walk.
The Community Hospice is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program. They are part of St. Peter’s Health Partners, and are privileged to work with every hospital in the region to provide hospice services. They serve more than 4,300 seriously ill patients and their families a year. The elderly, terminally ill and dying are among the most vulnerable people in our society. Incredible advances in medical care and social services haven’t ended the tragedy of people dying alone or in pain. Meeting that need is their mission. Wherever you or your loved one may be – in your own home, in a local nursing home, or in the hospital, The Community Hospice can help. Their special kind of care focuses on allowing patients to live with dignity, where and how they want to live, with the best quality of life possible. They can provide support and guidance for months, and not just a few days or weeks.