2016 was a year of giving of our time and our talents and our treasure – of being the Hands of Christ to a world in need.
When budget problems forced the Vestry to eliminate direct funding for outreach ministries, we asked parishioners to take a more direct personal role, by making special donations to these ministries and others throughout the year.
The response was inspirational: Parishioners gave $14,156 in special collections for ministries from Harvest Hope Food Bank to the Oliver Gospel Mission, from the Salvation Army to the Free Medical Clinic.
But we didn’t just open our wallets. We went grocery shopping, we went Christmas shopping, we baked, we bought baked goods, and we donated goods and our own work:
* In January, the youth of the parish cooked soup and sold it for the Souper Bowl of Caring, raising $720 for Harvest Hope Food Bank.
* In February, dozens of parishioners and friends participated in our Lenten Parish Retreat day, where we worked with Feeding Children Everywhere to package more than 10,000 meals for hungry children and families.
* From Mother’s Day through Father’s Day, we filled baby bottles with our pocket change, generating $470 for Birthright of Columbia.
* In June, six adults and two youths from Good Shepherd donated a week of their time to participate in our annual mission work trip to Appalachia.
* In five days in August, we collected 500 pounds of food and personal hygiene items to send to flood victims in Louisiana.
* In October, with a full week, we collected 1,076 pounds of food and personal hygiene items for the food banks in the lower part of South Carolina to distribute to victims of Hurricane Matthew. (That’s on top of the $1,700 we collected in cash donations for hurricane relief efforts.)
* Without fanfare, we also continued our longstanding practice of collecting food every Sunday for Harvest Hope. Usually, we don’t even bother to tally the donations. We did in August, and they weighed in at 316 pounds.
* Every Sunday throughout the year, we brought in our aluminum cans, which were sold and the proceeds ($135) given to the Heifer Project.
* In November, the women of the parish baked cakes and cookies and all sorts of goodies for the ECW’s holiday bake sale, and the $700 in proceeds were donated to Sistercare.
* Saint Bridget’s Guild helped make Christmas a little happier for the ladies at Hannah House. They told us the best present we could give them was laundry detergent, so the guild collected 57 large containers. Members of the guild also prepared 20 gift bags for the ladies, and bought presents for the 20 children currently living there. (Hannah House isn’t just a Christmas outreach; Saint Bridget’s provides the ministry with its supply of aluminum foil, kitchen trash bags and garbage bags every month of the year.)
* In December, as part of our Advent observation, families gathered food to help with Christmas dinner preparations and donated 76 very heavy Advent food parcels to send to Harvest.