Our Community Outreach Committee is involved in several major projects – outreach to residents of north end Halifax in conjunction with Ward 5 Community Center, participation on a rotation basis with other churches in providing a hot meal for the homeless (St. Andrew’s Supper and Brunswick Street Mission Breakfasts), and the annual White Gift Offering for Christmas boxes and gifts for the poor and disadvantaged. First Baptist Church also works through Feed Nova Scotia to help meet emergency food needs in the community. Gwendolyn MacLean is the Chair of our Community Outreach Committee.
White Gift Program
White Gift Sunday (Dec. 11) is a special service during Advent when we give our gifts to support special needs and causes within our community. Historically these gifts were of a tangible nature wrapped in white paper. Today we are given the names of families in our community who are in need and our FBC congregation makes financial donations so gifts can be bought for these families by volunteer shoppers. As the years progress, the families and the organizations we donate to change, but the heart behind White Gift Sunday remains the same.
Each year our program has been a great success due to the generosity of our church families. We exhibit Jesus’ example of giving to and helping those who are in need and have been proud to be part of such a worthwhile appeal, and we hope this year’s program will prove to be as successful. Here’s a great way for you to get involved! Last year, members of the congregation generously donated $7,140 to the program. This year our goal is to provide gifts for at least 85 people and donate a minimum of $1,500 for Christmas dinners, as well as support a few other worthy organizations this holiday season. Volunteers are needed to help pack the food boxes on Dec. 17th, 6 – 8PM at the Ward 5 Neighbourhood Centre and deliver the food boxes and gifts, to the recipients on Dec. 18th, 9 AM. We’re counting on your support to make our White Gift Program a success again this year – a wonderful way to bring Christmas to families in need! A letter describing the program is in the Nov. issue of Voices.
The ARK Supper
ARK Sunday Suppers are held each Sunday evening at the hall in the St. Andew’s United Church hall. FBC delivers 18 hot casseroles to St. Andrew’s United, when it is our turn to help. A link to all the supper recipes is here.
The suppers provide a weekly meal to about 200 homeless men, women, youth, and children.
Brunswick Street Breakfast
We regularly host the Saturday morning breakfasts at the Brunswick Street Mission. 55 – 65 people came for a good hot breakfast, orange juice, coffee, tea, fresh fruit, and granola bars. We also provide a variety of sandwiches for a snack later on. All the food items (except the tea and coffee) were provided by our church, purchased with profits from the sale of our Just Us! coffee. Thank you to everyone who purchases their coffee from the Community Outreach committee. The next date for providing this meal will be Dec. 10 at 5:30 a.m.
Volunteers will be needed. Although a busy time of year for everyone, we are hoping lots of volunteers will sign up for this very rewarding outreach project. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside the parlour.
We have received a wonderful letter of thanks from Elna Siebring of the Mission (2014), addressed to all in the city who help:
Dear Saturday Breakfast Coordinators and Volunteers,Yesterday [October 23, 2014] I had the honour to speak about “Mission Moments” at the Saturday Breakfast Program at a Brunswick Street Mission Fundraising Event at the World Trade and Convention Center. In 7 minutes I shared about the Saturday Breakfast Program, how the the faithful presence of groups and volunteers helps to change lives. It was not until I wrote out what I was going to say that I realize how much that place has changed over the 7 years of our helping out at the Mission.When I first started to coordinate 7 years ago, the breakfast space was dominated by anger and tension, there was much violence, fights were constantly breaking out and I was forever calling the cops. I notice things are very different today. Now there is a peaceful presence in the place, quiet conversations, bursts of laughter, games of crib, women who come share about their learning programs. I attribute this transformation to the Holy Spirit presence in loving and caring cooks and volunteers. Praise be to God! The key note speaker reminded us that violence and anger is born out of fear. Our sacred teachings tell us that perfect love casts out fear. Your loving presence has cast out fear. Your presence has made a difference. Thank you for partnering with me these 7 years. Thank You!!Our words,Our gentle gestures,Our Faithful presence,Breakfast cooked with love and served with a smile,that is medicine for the hurting ones.I offer this prayer of kindness and love from the readings of Medjugorje Day by Day:Lord Jesus Christ, help us to realize the power of kindness and love. Help us to use this power the way you intended us to use it when you created us. Help us to use it to bring happiness to those around us. Help us to use it to work miracles, healing people in our time, just as you healed them through love in your time. AmenGod bless you!Elna Siebring
This annual luncheon is held in April after the Sunday morning service. providing a hot meal for the homeless (St. Andrew’s Supper and Brunswick