Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Outreach

Clarke Parish BELIEVES in Outreach!

In addition to providing monetary support to local, national and international charities each year, we donate meeting space to groups like Al-Anon, AA, and Scout troops that meet each week in the fellowship hall free of charge.  Mission trips were once a highlight of our Outreach efforts and are something we look forward to resurrecting.  Over the years, we've sent work teams to Camp Cross @ Couer d'Alene, ID (2005); Priest Lake, Idaho (2007); Habitat for Humanity house in Millwood, VA (2007); Wasilla, Alaska (2009); Camp Bear Wallow @ Shrine Mont (2010); Fire House Project @ Shrine Mont(2011); New Orleans, LA (2011; Staten Island, NY (2013); and various small projects closer to home.

We also undertake specific projects that allow hands-on involvement and a greater sense of participation by parishioners of all ages.  Some of these Outreach projects include:

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) - Initiated in 2010.  Since then we have participated each year hosting a 'Packaging Party' in November.  Youth and grown-ups alike come to the fellowship hall ready and able to pack shoe boxes full of donated trinkets and treasure for less fortunate children around the globe.  We currently stand at 624 gift boxes!  Our packaging track record to date:  2016 - 90 boxes; 2015 - 104 boxes; 2014 - 82 boxes; 2013 - 62 boxes; 2012 - 98 boxes; 2011 - 141 boxes; and 2010 - 47 boxes.  This is a project we look forward to all year!

 

Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) Gifts for Life Campaign - Commonly reffered to as 'THE PIG FUND' around here, we encourage monetary donations from ALL members of the church community. From special offerings taken during Children's Church and Big' Church, to pancake suppers and coffee hour feast, there is nothing we won't do to collect a few extra pennies to add to the collection jar.  Initiated in October 2010, the project has raised $11,489.34 allowing us to purchase:  (drum roll please)...16 pigs, 17 goats, 60 chickens, 52 mosquito nets, 2 cows, 1 ox, 1 plow, 1 bee box, 1 donkey, plow & cart high impact gift, postnatal care & medical supplies, 6 diaster relief kits, 3 energy-efficient cookstoves, 1 family garden, 3 community gardens, 150 trees for reforestation, and 1 rainwater cache system & purifier!

 

Food Distribution for the Clarke County Department of Social Services - Each February, parishioners from Clarke Parish volunteer to set-up and staff the monthly food give away, as well as, pay for the 2+ tons of food delivered from the local food bank!  This is a worthwhile Outreach project that allows our volunteers an opportunity to interact with community neighbors that require a little extra assistance.  It's a good workout too - some heavy lifting and scurrying around filing all those food boxes.  

 

The Backpack Food Ministry - This program is an invaluable asset and fills a vital need in our community. It provides weekend meals & snacks to an ever increasing number of children within our local public school system.  Food bags are packed with essentials each week to help fill young tummies that otherwise might go hungry over the weekend or long school breaks.  The program is supported with monetary donations from ours and other local churches as well as grants, individuals and community groups.  From the Backpack Pantry, volunteers buy, organize, pack, and transport the food to schools where guidance counselors then distribute.  The Backpack program is anonymous - we only know how many bags to fill each week (currently at 39), not the receipient or the circumstance.  Thanks to the capable hands of Margaret Burks, the program coordinator, and a pleathora of dedicated volunteers, this Outreach program is an excellent example of comminity helping community!

 

Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS) - The Winchester area has an ever-increasing homeless population.  As a response to help during the winter months, the WATTS program was initiated.  Its good works has spread to Clarke County when the Clarke County Ruritan graciously donates its main building and it is transformed into a temporary thermal shelter for a week each January.  Clarke Parish, other local churches, and service organizations each volunteer to sponsor the WATTS program for a day by hosting overnight guests from 6pm until 6 am the following day.  We provide hot meals, a warm bed, social time, games, and over night supervision.  In addition to staffing the shelter, Clarke Parish holds a coat drive in the weeks leading up to WATTS.  We collect gently used coats, mittens, cold-weather gear, socks and toiletries for distribution to the 'guests'.