Community Outreach Ministry Events

Another manifestation of our continuing commitment to social justice is our Food Pantry and Shower Ministry. Our days/hours of operations are the 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month, from 10 AM to 12 PM.

C.O.M.E.  Update for Spring, 2017

Food Bag

April 22

If you’re a beet lover, you’re in a minority group. Of the 45 households who took advantage of our pantry, only 3 wanted beets as their garden vegetable of choice. (The garden gave us 39 bags of produce, which allowed each household to choose one bag.) That’s about seven hundredths of a percent. But those 3 people were passionate about their love of beets, including one client who juiced the beets for her son.

Intake has an interesting opportunity. Our pantry is attracting clients who speak Vietnamese and very little English. The intake people know some Spanish, but no Vietnamese. If you, or anyone you know, speaks Vietnamese, and are willing to volunteer either on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, or both, please let us know by giving us your information at http://www.staopen.org/ways-to-give/volunteer/ or talking to a pantry volunteer.

Central Texas Food Bank supplied us with 50 pounds of cabbage, 50 pounds of onions, and 50 pounds of potatoes. In addition, CTFB provided 25 pounds of grapefruit, 25 pounds of oranges, and eight 3 pound bags of frozen blueberries. St. Andrew’s garden provided about 22 pounds of fresh produce including beets, carrots, chard lettuce, and parsley.

The April 22nd COME/Pantry fed 49 adults and 5 children on site. They enjoyed bel-vita crackers, fruit bars, yogurt, cheez-its, sun chips, mandarins, juice, and coffee. Our clients took home food for 122 adults and 79 children for a total of 201 people. Four people took showers. We had nine new clients.

The Apr. 13th COME/Showers had 18 campers on site, 10 took showers, and 17 received bus passes. Kathy Gichangah provided the meal. The Apr. 20th COME/Showers had 13 campers on site, 7 took showers, and 13 received bus passes.  June Oliver provided the meal.

The pantry has a special request for cereal. Central Texas Food Bank didn’t have much cereal available this time.

April 8

Pantry volunteers are amazing. Not only do they spend several hours twice a month serving pantry clients, some of them notice a special need and provide it themselves. Laura often brings bottles of dishwashing soap or rolls of paper towels for the “raffle” table. Sally, our pet advocate, donates dog and cat food to every pantry. Betsy, our hospitality guru, remembers holidays and uses holiday themed napkins and paper plates as well as a special treat for the clients. Rita supplies toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste for the toiletries table, both desirable items for our clients. Joe was asked by a camper to provide can openers. The camper specified an opener no larger than a key. Joe researched that opener, found durable ones made of steel from the Shelby Co., and purchased a supply of 100 of them. Lori, another animal lover, brings veterinary approved dog and cat flea products which she gives out only after making sure a client understands exactly how to use them.

Central Texas Food Bank supplied us with 80 pounds of onions, 15 pounds of grapefruit, 50 pounds of navel oranges, 32 pounds of cara cara oranges, 10 pounds of lemons, 3 pounds of limes, 16 pounds of cherry tomatoes, 12 pounds of Brussels sprouts, 5 pounds of sweet potatoes, 11 pounds of apples, 5 pounds of bell peppers, 3 pounds of mini peppers, and 25 pounds of cabbage. In addition, CTFB provided 9 bags of caulibits, 12 bags of corn meal, 11 plastic containers of prepped fresh fruit or mangoes, 23 plastic containers of various types of greens, and 12 cucumbers. St. Andrew’s garden provided about 11 pounds of fresh produce including beets, carrots, lettuce, parsley, radishes, and turnips. Our clients love the fresh produce. We even had one ask if we had Swiss chard and a month ago that client did not know what Swiss chard was.

The April 8th COME/Pantry fed 53 adults and 15 children on site. They enjoyed bel-vita crackers, fruit bars, yogurt, cheez-its, sun chips, mandarins, juice, and coffee. Our clients took home food for 103 adults and 72 children for a total of 175 people. Two people took showers.

The Mar. 30th COME/Showers had 15 campers on site, 10 took showers, and 12 received bus passes. Carol Harris provided the meal. The Apr. 6th COME/Showers had 13 campers on site,10 took showers, and 14 received bus passes. Francis Boyd provided the meal.

 

The pantry has a special request for plastic bags; the kind grocery stores use to bag your purchases if you live outside of Austin, not the flimsy produce bags. If you have some curled up in a corner, please bring them and leave them in the kitchen on the counter near the door to the sanctuary. The food pantry needs dried beans, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, ramen noodles, large bottles of juice and individual boxes of juice, peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned beans, canned pasta, CANNED MEATS, (such as tuna, chicken, spam, and salmon) canned soups/stews/chili, rice, powdered milk, and cereal.

If you don’t have time to shop, or forget what’s needed, you can write a check, mark it COME, and put it in the offering plate during church service. These donations are used to purchase bread and eggs which are given to all clients as well as purchasing food from Central Texas Food Bank and sometimes purchasing additional food from retail stores if CTFB is low on supplies. They are also used to purchase bus passes for the campers.

The COME volunteers and our clients thank you for your generosity.

 

 

 

 

 

COME/Showers Needs Clothing Donations

COME/Showers on Thursday evenings is a spin off from COME/Pantry on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. This event started about 3 years ago when it became necessary to tell the homeless to cease sleeping on St. Andrew’s porch.

Some of the pantry volunteers felt this move would be devastating to the homeless with whom they had built a trust relationship. So they provided meals for the homeless on a few Thursday evenings along with conversations to help them consider what their options were. But these meals never ended.

Thursday showers now has a core of about 15 regular attendees. While the showers and the meal are a big draw, the chance for a time to enjoy companionship and feel safe for a few hours each week is what brings people back on a regular basis.

Services from the volunteers have also grown. Occasionally they will show a movie and provide popcorn. Now other volunteers are providing the meals so the core volunteers are free to monitor the showers and converse with the attendees.

After a shower, it’s nice to put on clean clothes. Thursday night volunteers also launder clothes for the homeless and sometimes provide new ones.

Thursday showers needs donations of socks, underwear, and jeans. The socks should be one-size-fits all tube socks. Boxers should be medium or large size. All sizes of jeans are needed, but the most useful sizes are 30×30, 32×30, 32×32, 34×30, and 32×32. Gently used jeans are also helpful.

Clothing donations may be brought to the church on Sundays to be picked up before the puppet show along with food donations.
Need Volunteers

We need more volunteers to assist with Central Texas Food Bank pick-ups on Fridays.   If you’re interested in helping, please contact Steve Landsman for more details: stevelandsman1@gmail.com