Reflections on a Year of Community Outreach
I want to share some astonishing numbers with you. And I want to share what the Lord has done in one year of our Community Outreach ministry. Through the sacrificial giving of time, talents and finances of the body here at RBC, amazing things have been accomplished by the grace of our Lord. This is mostly facts and numbers, and doesn’t adequately represent the many lives that have been changed through this ministry – one of which is my own. However, I hope that it will at least show some of the many areas that we have been able to make a difference for our neighbors.
From September 2011 – July 2012, RBC has received over $135,000 in donations towards Community Outreach. Of that approximately $61,000 was designated for the food pantry, and $18,000 was designated for Guilford Elementary, the rest was undesignated. We have spent approx. $90,000 of what has come in. That means a couple of things – we have funds as we move forward, and it means that the giving for this ministry has sustained. RBC has shown we want to reach the community for Jesus Christ.
So, let me share some of what the Lord has accomplished through you this year and share a little about our upcoming plans.
THIS YEAR AT THE FOOD PANTRY
- We reopened our food pantry in mid-September with 15 families receiving groceries and 10 volunteers. We now are averaging about 180 families and have well over 100 volunteers. Some of our guests are lining up, up to 2 hours before we open. We have about 15 – 20 Guilford families getting food.
- We are spending more than $1000/week plus the food donations of the congregation and we are receiving donations of food from Food Lion, Trader Joe’s, Panera Bread, and Mom’s Market. We have had 3 area companies run food drives and give us the proceeds.
- We have given away over 200 bibles (both in Spanish and English).
FUTURE PLANS FOR THE FOOD PANTRY
- We just signed a contract with a food distributor. We are still working out the details – they have never worked with a non-profit before, so we have to reassure them that we pay our bills. This should eliminate our need to buy items from Walmart, and eliminate the hassle, and strain of loading everything in and out of cars. It should also considerably lower our costs, enabling us to purchase more food and increase how much we can give out to each family. We will continue to purchase from Dollar Tree in Herndon, where we have established a wonderful working relationship and friendship with the manager and staff.
- We are looking into partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank to be able to have access to their vast array of food at greatly reduced costs. This is complicated (they require a business plan and training), so it is going to take a while – but we hope to be able to work with them soon.
- We are hoping to make Spanish classes available to our volunteers this upcoming year.
- In the fall, we will begin having a Spanish devotion shared at the Wednesday food pantry once a month. Jason VanDorsten has graciously offered to work with us on that.
- We will be purchasing a fridge for the Food Pantry’s exclusive use enabling us to add some perishable products to our grocery list.
THIS YEAR AT GUILFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
- Just over a year ago, we met with the Guilford Elementary administration staff to offer our church’s support. At that time, we were told that they would love to have financial assistance, but nothing more than that. Within 3 months, they allowed us to expand our help in several significant ways.
- We gave away over 3,600 books – every student received 6 books, and each classroom teacher added to their classroom library. There were enough books left that each new kindergarten student was given a book when they came to kindergarten orientation.
- Our volunteers provided 50 turkeys – cooked, sliced and delivered – along with lots of volunteers to help set up, serve and clean up at their community Thanksgiving dinner.
- We provided 24 pounds of frosting, along with all the other supplies needed for the after-school baking club.
- We provided the funds for every student to go on a field trip this year. We provided the snacks and drinks for the 4th graders to be able to spend the day in Jamestown.
- Our volunteers provided over 21,000 individual snacks to kids that can’t afford to bring a snack to school, enabling teachers to teach students who otherwise were too hungry until after lunch to learn.
- We provided additional classroom equipment that was not previously available.
- We gave the staff a water cooler and coffee free of charge all year long.
- We provided the school clinic with a supply of clothing for when a child has an accident.
- We provided every student with a scarf, along with donating several hundred winter coats to be available for any student without proper outerwear.
- We provided school supplies, tissues, Clorox wipes, and an endless supply of Ziploc bags to the teachers.
- We provided encouragement to almost every classroom teacher through notes, gifts, a back-to-school breakfast and end-of-year lunch.
- We tutored many 3rd grade students through the Homework Helpers club.
- We provided clothing, gifts, gift cards and groceries to 15 families over the holidays.
- We provided each teacher with gift cards to help them supply their classrooms with needed extras
- We gave gifts to all the janitorial staff, cafeteria staff and even the bus drivers during the course of the year.
- We had 50 kids from Guilford and surrounding neighborhoods to come to Kids Camp on scholarship, where we were able to give them and their families a hot lunch each day. We also packed up the leftovers for them to take home each day, gave them groceries on Thursday, and gave each parent/guardian Bibles on the last day. The kids got Jesus Storybook Bibles as well. We even followed up and provided several of the kids with new eyeglasses, as they were wearing broken glasses that had outdated prescriptions.
FUTURE PLANS FOR GUILFORD
- We have been asked to expand our tutoring to include both 3rd and 4th grade students. We are currently looking for 50 volunteers able to serve as Homework Helpers on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 2:30 – 3:30pm. This will allow 100 of the 550 students to get extra help. Can you help?
- We will need to expand our monthly snack donations, as they are expecting more than 100 new students this year.
- We will continue with our Teacher Encouragement, and hope to have every staff member covered this year.
- We will continue with the book drives, coat drives, and will add gloves/hats this year.
- We will continue with helping with the Thanksgiving dinner, and will increase the number of volunteers.
- We will partner with the PTA, to help run events, and provide funds to enhance their impact.
- We will work more closely with the Parent Liaison, to be able to provide larger item needs for families in the school (mattresses, tables, etc.).
- Dave Stewart, the Principal of Guilford Elementary recently said, “The biggest thing that Reston Bible Church has done for Guilford is to love our children and meet their needs. Now the staff is freed up to do the business of teaching.” Please keep this ministry in your prayers as we continue to see how and where the Lord would have us serve our local community.
- We had about 70 people lined up and waiting when we opened the doors and we gave away more than 300 bags of clothing in the first hour that we were open. We only had about 10 bags of clothing left at the end of the event, which went to the thrift store we partner with.
SO, all that to say… THANK YOU for being the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors.
“Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58: 6-8
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0 thoughts on “Reflections on a Year of Community Outreach”
Thanks Barb for the update – and thanks for all you do to coordinate all these efforts. It is a blessing to me to even get to read about all of the impact.