One of our most valued Commissions is our Outreach Commission. It has been in existence for most of the church’s history. It thrived as a result of our Thrift Shop receipts. The shop was started by Jeanine Harper (the wife of one of our former priests) in 1988 in a strip mall closer to the beach on the north side of Bonita Beach road. In 2003 the shop moved to the old parish building where it is now. Over the years it has become very successful due to the volunteer efforts of our church members and others, both men and women who have devoted many hours to sorting, pricing and selling all manner of goods.
As the receipts of the Thrift Shop grew the expertise of the commission and its understanding of where this money should go became more serious. For example: the commission, in the beginning, was just the shop management, it gave $1,000 in 1989 to Bonita Assistance. Today we give $15,000 each year to that local place of appeal for those in need. We have given as much as $25,000 but as our church has grown so have the appeals for money. Another example is the Liberty Youth Ranch that did not exist when our commission was formed, we now give to that. Half of PennyWise receipts go to Outreach, the other half goes to the church for the vestry to decide upon.
In the past our Sundays at church became overloaded with ‘collections’ for worthy causes. At one point the parishioners in cooperation with the vestry and Penny Wise board made the decision to see which of the charitable causes might be rolled into the Outreach Commission. An example is the annual donation to two of our Seminaries;, those donations have gone to the seminaries that our current clergy attended. Church members serving on the commission also involve themselves in particular efforts locally. Another example is the Harvest Time Ministries that is active during the ‘season’ and brings food and other needs to the local migrant camps.
The commission considers all requests that are brought to them. They have a general standard of considering local causes, Episcopal causes, some support for needs within the parish, disaster assistance, and items brought before them for a one time donation. The Commission is involved in the Sunday collections that you do take part in over the church year, determining the Sundays for requests in cooperation with the clergy. Fred Cable our current Chairman brought before us the idea of ‘day of change’ Sunday when the time change occurs and Souper Bowl Sunday. We welcome ideas that will cause folks to smile and open their pockets to add to the Penny Wise annual amount which runs around $45,000. .
Here is a current list of where our Outreach money is spent.
- Bonita Assistance,
- Harvest Time Ministries,
- Honduras Missions (Fr. Roy Allison),
- India Missions (Dave Smith, Mussoorie),
- Meals On Wheels,
- Our Mother’s Home,
- Love, Inc., Café of Life,
- Episcopal Charities of SWF,
- Gabriel House,
- Literacy Council of Bonita Springs,
- Friendship Health Clinic,
- Camp Able at DaySpring (St. Mark’s project),
- Place of Hope in Haiti
- Liberty Youth Ranch,
- DaySpring Pool Fund,
- New Horizons,
- Meals of Hope,
- United Thank Offering,
- Blessings in a Backpack,
- Compass Rose Society.
All of these receive money or attention within the Commission every year. We also sponsor the Blood Mobile three times a year.
If you are interested in becoming a part of this commission please contact Fred Cable.