Outreach is an important part of St. Stephen’s Ministries. Several of the very successful community outreach organizations had their start here at St. Stephen’s, such as the Food Pantries and the Homeless Shelter. This column will spotlight a new outreach ministry each month, bringing a brief glimpse of what it is and how it is supported by St. Stephens.
The following is a list of the ministries to be under the spotlight: AIDS Lunch, Angel Tree, Angel Interfaith Network, bcglm, Blood Drive (UCLA), Creative Peacemaking, Crop Walk, Episcopal Relief & Development, Food Pantries, Homeless Shelter, Human Relations Forum, Interfaith Council, United Thank Offering, and Used Eyeglasses.
If the Outreach Ministry that YOU want to support is not listed here, please contact the office give us some information about what is important to you. We are also looking for more people to help out this important part of the St. Stephen’s Life. If you wish to utilize your stewardship of your time and talent in assisting one of these existing ministries please contact the office.
• Angel Tree
• Angel Interfaith Network
• Crop Walk
• Episcopal Relief and Development
• Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley
• Give the Gift of Sight
• Monthly Aids Lunch
• Project Share the Grace
• SCV Food Pantry
• Bridge To Home (SCV Winter Shelter)
• UCLA Blood Drive
• United Thank Offering
Angel Tree is a national program run by Prison Fellowship Ministries. Christmas gifts are provided to children of prisoners. Each child receives two gifts on behalf of the prisoner.
The goal of the program is twofold. First, it provides gifts for children who often live in underprivileged situations. Receiving these gifts often makes a big difference for a family. Secondly, and more importantly, it helps to nurture the bond between an absent parent and a child.
All of the gifts were delivered to the families before Christmas. Some were delivered by members of our congregation, and the rest were delivered by Boy Scouts of Troop 609, based here in Newhall.
ANGEL INTERFAITH NETWORK (AIN)
Founded in 1988, Angel Interfaith Network provides a compassionate response to urgent needs of patients and families served by Los Angeles County. Composed of faith groups, civic organizations, businesses and individuals, AIN responds to referrals from chaplains, social workers and medical staff. We personally deliver infant clothing and furniture and provide emergency food, shelter, transportation, moving assistance and community resource contacts to help people cope with the crisis of hospitalization
Angel Interfaith Network is a tax-exempt charitable organization which relies on “like new” donations from the generous members of St. Stephen’s Church, the parents of our Pre-School, and our expanding local network of generous donors, all of which have donated nearly $20,000 of “like new” clothing, furniture and furnishings during 2007. We have enabled AIN to assist many needy families during our 10 years of involvement with AIN. With thanks to the generosity of our very own SAGES, the Chaplains in the Department of Pastoral Care are able to provide Bedside Bags to the poor and/or homeless patients.
If you can, we are in urgent need of the following items:
floor or table lamps
I have seen the miracles resultant from the generous donations of our Parish families. If you can donate “like new” infants’ to pre-teen clothing, shoes, furniture, furnishings, small toys/games, infant toiletries and disposable diapers, car seats, strollers, etc. or if you can make a tax-deductible contribution to AIN to assist us to purchase scrip for food, pay for transportation to obtain medical care, assist with utility bills, please call me.
Website:Angel Interfaith Network
EPISCOPAL RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT (ERD)
One of my most important contributions to the life of St. Stephen's had its beginnings at Christmas 2005. For some years the Belliss and Jay families had been exchanging Christmas presents in the form of gifts to ERD - goats and chickens, etc., fun.
I realized that everyone in our congregation should be given the opportunity of joining in the fun. Ten months later I ordered 100 copies of the Christmas catalogue, gave them away, made a pitch and watched a new happiness come into the lives of people. Ditto in 2007 but with the exciting leadership of our young people. We are discovering together the truths that happiness does lie in giving, and that loving God and our neighbor means reaching out to the poor, hungry, homeless, sick, imprisoned everywhere in the world.
I pray that we will more and more know that the spirit of Christmas isn't found in Target and Walmart but in reaching out to the needy here and everywhere.
FOOD PANTRIES of SANTA CLARITA
The Santa Clarita Food Pantry was started here at St. Stephen’s many years ago. The Food Pantry which is now located on Railroad Avenue in Newhall feeds hundreds of people each week.
The ELCA Lutheran Church of Hope Food Pantry is located in Canyon Country opposite the Post Office. The Church also runs a Thrift Store at this site and a wonderful Gift Shop next door.
To participate as a donor to each of these local ministries, bring non-perishable food (canned, [no glass] cereals, pastas, paper goods, personal hygiene items, etc.) and leave your donations in the marked box in the Narthex or in the shopping cart by the kitchen in Spurling Hall.
Throughout the year as a result of the generosity of our Congregation, we deliver approximately three grocery bags filled with food each week to these Food Pantries which are in particular need of spaghetti sauce in cans, meals in cans, such as soups, spaghetti, ravioli, etc. and especially Peanut Butter.
Our Food Pantries need our help to keep their shelves full!
Website:SCV Food Pantry
USED EYEGLASSES MINISTRY
During 2007, over 350 used eye wear (prescription and non-prescription glasses and sunglasses, lenses and cases) were collected in the red box on top of the piano in Spurling Hall and taken to a local Lens Crafters store, who in partnership with the Lion’s Club, arrange to have them repaired and refurbished to provide restored eyewear free to needy folks around the world through their GIFT OF SIGHT Program.
Thank you for participating in this ministry for the blind and vision impaired.
Website:The Gift of Sight
A community-wide event coordinated by Church World Service to assist the world’s poor. Twenty percent of the monies raised in Santa Clarita go to our 2 Food Pantries and to our Homeless Shelter. It was held on Labor Day. It started and ended here at St. Stephen’s. The over all turn out was good but our St. Stephen’s turn out was low.
Website Crop Walk
MONTHLY AIDS LUNCH
The Aids Lunch is making the news
See more photos
Since 2001 we have been providing lunches and more to the clinic patients and their families at two outpatient clinics at USC County General. We prepare the lunches at church in the morning starting at 9:30 AM on the fourth Thursday of each month. A smaller group then drives down to the clinic. We serve lunch to the patient’s and their family members in the adult clinic and send lunches to the Women and Children’s clinic. We do this ministry in association with the ELCA Lutheran Church of Hope.
We have added hot food in the cooler months, which has been well received. We serve three varieties of sandwiches, salad, fruit, pickles, chips, pudding, homemade cookies, and drinks. We package candy in bags for them to take away. We also provide them with personal kits, which include toiletries and a washcloth. Donated small toys are put in the children’s lunches as well.
We accomplish all this because we have a faithful group of volunteers and those who donate money or the items we use.
We are always in need of supplies or the cash to purchase them. These items are usually listed in the monthly newsletter. In addition, we are always in need of more hands and welcome anyone to join us. This is a very rewarding ministry.
We sincerely thank everyone who has volunteered for this important and needed service.
Bridge to Home
St. Stephen’s members supports the Santa Clarita Emergency Winter Homeless Shelter with hundreds of volunteer hours, including responsibility for two weeks’ of shelter volunteer and dinner preparation sign-ups, as well as thousands of dollars of cash and in-kind donations. The Santa Clarita Community Development Corp. (SCCDC) operates the Shelter, which offers food, clothing, showers, and a safe place to sleep for an average of about 35 men and women per night from December through March 15. All Shelter clients are required to adhere to a strict set of rules including prohibitions against drugs, alcohol, weapons, profanity, and abusive conduct.
As determined in early 2002 by a study by the City’s Homelessness Advisory Task Force,nearly half of the homeless population of the Santa Clarita Valley are children. Through the SCCDC’s “Family Aid Program,” people with children are kept together as a family and provided with temporary accommodations at a local motel. An average of about four families per night, with children ranging from infants to early teens are assisted in the Family Aid Program.
All Shelter clients can (and those in the Family Aid Program are required to) access “case management” services addressing the root causes of homeless on an individual basis for each client. SCCDC case managers are on duty at the Shelter at least five nights per week, and Lutheran Social Services provides daytime assistance and follow-up. The case managers help the access and follow programs to break the cycle of homelessness – whether the need is for job training, substance abuse treatment, or other types of counseling. In addition, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health sends counselors at least weekly, and private physicians and dentists have donated their time to assess medical issues for clients and treat or refer clients with such needs.
For further information on the Shelter, or to donate by credit card, visit SCCDC online at Bridge To Home.
UCLA BLOOD DRIVE
Sponsored by UCLA, our tri-annual Blood Drives each generate about 28 pints of blood.
We need volunteer assistance at each Blood Drive to greet and sign in the donors. We need people prior to each Drive to enlist and sign up donors.
Be A Life Saver – Donate a Pint of your Blood!
56 days are needed between each donation, so save your blood for St. Stephen’s
To volunteer as a donor or to assist, please contact the church office but DROP-IN DONORS are more than welcome, so please come and invite your friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and family members. Your single blood donation can save as many as three lives!!
Website:UCLA blood drive
UNITED THANK OFFERING (UTO)
Sponsored and coordinated by the Episcopal Church, UTO collects offerings one time each year and the resulting funds are used as grants to not for profit organizations, including Episcopal Churches and schools, which benefit the needy.
During this Lenten period as we await and reflect about Christ’s agony and death for us, children were encouraged to contribute to the needy by making offerings into the box and praying for the needy in America. Parents participated with their contributions either in the boxes or in special UTO envelopes. UTO boxes were picked up on Ascension Sunday.