St. Francis Church is deeply committed to outreach – both in the distribution of our resources and in the involvement of our people. Our Grants Program distributes more than $25,000 per year to organizations that help the most vulnerable members of society. Most of the funds are distributed locally, but special needs in other parts of the nation and around the world are funded as well. In 2016, all of the proceeds from the 4th Annual Miles for a Mission Road Race were granted to Inspirica, and additional grants were made to the following organizations:
Americares Free Clinics
Child Guidance Centers
Connecticut Food Bank
Domestic Violence Crisis Center
Neighbors Link Stamford (now Building One Community)
The Outreach Committee coordinates many hands-on projects such as the Midnight Run into New York City to distribute food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless, meal preparation at the Pacific House, preparation of food boxes at the Christmas season through Person-to-Person’s Dove Box Program, and regular food drives for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Outreach is central to our identity at St. Francis. There is something for everyone who would like to participate in community service work.
Heifer International is a charitable organization that works with global communities to end hunger and poverty, and provide care for the earth. By providing livestock to poor families, it helps families to improve their nutrition and generate income. Each year, St. Francis’ Christian Education students raise money for Heifer International to buy an animal for a family in need, helping make youngsters aware of the needs of others.
Once a month, Vicar Debra Slade and one or two prison volunteers offer a Holy Communion Service in the hospital of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y. Bedford Hills Is the only maximum security prison for women in New York state, and many of the women coming to the service have long or life sentences for serious offenses. The volunteers spend about three hours, and the women see their visit as a chance to socialize. Note: There is an initial clearance process to get approved for entry into the prison.
Contact: Debra Slade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Shawls … made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…” (Copyright ©2008, Janet Bristow)
The Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Francis began in February 2012 under the guidance of Deacon Edrice Veichweg. Based on a ministry founded in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary, this program combines a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice with a love of knitting and crocheting. Shawls made by the group are given to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy. Blessings are prayed into every shawl.
Contact: Deacon Edrice (email@example.com)
Building One Community, originally called Neighbors Link Stamford, opened in 2011 as a Community Center for recent immigrants. Their mission is to strengthen the whole community by actively enhancing the healthy integration of immigrants. Since the inception of Neighbors Link Stamford, St. Francis Parish has been involved in their development with financial assistance and volunteer time.
In 2013, St. Francis parishioners began hosting a 5k walk/run which has grown to include dogs in the race as well as a Dogapalooza competition. What started as a fund raiser for St. Francis’ Outreach program has grown to partnering with 1 organization resulting in 3-fold growth in participants and $ raised.
The 4th Annual Miles for a Mission Race was on Sunday, September 25, 2016, and it was a great success! Over $14,000 was raised for our 2016 race partner, Inspirica.
Twice a year, a group of St. Francis Parishioners join forces with St. John’s Lutheran Church to participate in a late-night trip to New York City to distribute food, clothing, personal care items and human contact to the homeless poor on the streets of New York City. Those making the “Run” into New York City leave around 9 p.m. and return around 2 a.m. The late-night relief efforts create a forum for trust, sharing, understanding and affection. Participation on all levels is needed and welcome. If you are not able to make the trip to NYC, you can help by donating the food and supplies that will be distributed, or by helping to pack on the evening of the trip.
Midnight Run is a volunteer organization dedicated to finding common ground between the housed and the homeless. St. Francis and St. John’s are just two of the hundreds of schools, churches and civic groups that make these trips. To learn more about the Midnight Run, contact Rev. Mark Lingle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pacific House and Inspirica
Several times a year, a group of St. Francis parishioners and friends prepares and serves meals at Pacific House and Inspirica, Stamford organizations that serve the homeless. Check the parish calendar for the next scheduled event.
A longstanding social-service program that is coordinated by Person-to-Person in Darien, St. Francis is one of 19 area churches and schools that prepare food boxes for needy families at Christmastime. St. Francis parishioners typically provide more than 20 needy Stamford families with non-perishable food items, and also make generous cash gifts to Person-to-Person’s scholarship fund through the Green Dove program.