Assistance for Neighbors in Need
“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
Matthew 25:45 (The Message)
First Presbyterian Church has long been an active participant in local missions, providing financial support and volunteers to a number of organizations in and around Georgetown. When COVID-19 forced the temporary closure of these organizations and the church, those who relied on our services were left with no source of help or assistance.
In June 2021, First Presbyterian Church returned to its pre-COVID office hours and with this return, began to see a much greater need for the church to be a resource in the immediate community, both to the homeless population as well as low-income families, seeking assistance with unmet needs for food, hygiene products and clothing. By October 2021, the “Gifts from God to You” pantry was established, supported solely on donations from the congregation.
As the number of clients increased, the need to accurately track the assistance each was provided became necessary. Since January 2022, the office staff has maintained a spreadsheet on every individual the church assists along with contact information, frequency and type of assistance given and when they are eligible for additional assistance. All information is kept confidential and is only accessible to two staff members that interact with the clients on a regular basis.
“Gifts from God to You” Food Pantry
The pantry is open Tuesdays from 1:00-4:00 pm and Wed. & Thur 8:30 am – noon. No services are available during the lunch hour each day, and clients may not access the pantry unaccompanied by staff.
For clients seeking assistance on Sundays, Blessing Bags (consisting of personal hygiene items, snacks and a bottle of water) are available from our deacons with a request to return during regular office hours for additional assistance.
Current Services Offered Include:
$20 HEB card (eligible to each client once every three months)
1 plastic bag of food and toiletries (eligible to each client once every week)
Clothing as available, quantity determined by inventory and client need
Other items as available including flashlights, duffel bags or backpacks, blankets, hand warmers, refillable bottles, etc.
An emergency fund with a limited yearly budget of $2000.00 is available on a case-by-case basis (clients who receive money from this fund may only do so once)
How can you help?
Purchase items from the Amazon Wish List
Bring donations to Room 107 at the church.
A list of common items needed are:
- canned soups or meats (pop top lid)
- peanut butter crackers
- deodorant (men’s & women’s)
- toothpaste (travel size)
- flavor drink packs (single serve)
- waterproof insulated gloves
- backpacks or small duffle bag
Other Information & Services
Though the church is unable to provide a cold or warm weather shelter, clients are invited to come to the church office during normal business hours for a cup of coffee or bottled water when temperatures are extreme, as we recognize that inclement weather can be brutal and clients may require temporary relief from the elements. Clients must remain in the office area, supervised by staff and are not allowed to gather or congregate in other areas inside or outside the church.
We partner with local organizations to provide needed services and will continue to do so. Many of our clients either do not qualify for or live outside of the perimeters of organizational requirements for assistance. The services we provide also include those that cannot be measured as much of our ministry is simply providing a kind ear and a moment or two of our time to listen and converse with our clients.
For our regulars, we come to know more of their story, who they are, where they come from, how they have ended up here and what challenges they face. We have talked to them, worshipped with them; we have broken bread with them, both here and elsewhere. Over time, some have become our friends and we walk with them through the bureaucracy of government to replace IDs, Social Security cards, obtain food stamps, medical treatment and housing.
WHY WE HELP
With each new client, we learn more about the system and how to help our clients navigate it successfully. God calls us to provide for those less fortunate than us. Here at First Presbyterian Church, we strive to answer that call and will continue to do so as long as a hole remains in the social and basic needs services available in the local community. These clients are part of our community and we will treat them as such, just as God commanded us.