2016 Christmas Outreach - Update
Each year, the Outreach Committee members give a sigh of relief when the Christmas program has been successfully completed. Many challenges pop up and are soon overcome by the enthusiastic volunteers on the Committee and from the congregation. This year, Feed Nova Scotia had a new person, unfamiliar with the Christmas Families program, who proved very helpful when we were unable to contact some Families by telephone. Linda, our problem solver, was sidelined by a broken bone in her foot. Linda was still available by telephone for advice and she addressed the Christmas cards for each Family as well as contacting them regarding the delivery of their gifts and groceries. Laurie D. and Joanne spent hours phoning the Families to let them know what Woodlawn would be providing at Christmas (before she left for British Columbia).
As is our custom, we began the White Gift announcements and distribution of Shoe Boxes, Back Packs, etc. on the Sunday following the Remembrance Day observances. The White Gift service was on December 4 and Delivery Day to the Families was set for December 16. We should have checked with the weather office since Dec. 16 was a very cold, windy and snowy day. The valiant volunteers met the challenge of the weather conditions and all the deliveries were made by 11:30 am that morning, without incident. David and Tom even drove over to the Brunswick Street Mission to deliver three large bags of new underwear donated by members of our congregation. Jerry, Harold and Ernie, Al and Erin came back several times for more addresses to deliver to.
The Facts of the 2016 White Gift program are as follows—43 Shoe Boxes for adults were picked up by Metro Non-Profit Housing in time for their annual Christmas party; 20 Shoe Boxes for Teen Girls and Boys were picked up by the Regional Independent Students Association; 40 well filled Back Packs were ready for Dartmouth Family Center in North Dartmouth. There were 24 donations made to the Sleeping Children Around the World program which Miriam supervises each year. The Outreach Committee made a donation of $200.00 to Metro Community Living towards the Christmas expenses for their clients.
We had received the names of 25 Families from Feed Nova Scotia for whom we arranged (with a church family, the UCW Units and the Choirs) to provide gifts for each member of the Family as well as a grocery order plus a $35.00 gift card from Sobeys on Baker Drive, manager Trevor Negus. Tom requested the fresh produce (including apples and clementines) from Dave’s Fruit and Vegetable Market. This year, we were also able to assist 4 Families from our congregation. One church family offered to help a single mother with 2 young children who phoned the church office shortly before Christmas.
Those are the Facts, but the stories which surround the program are what give joy to the volunteers. Daily, we received donations of jackets, slacks, shirts, hoodies, toys and games to add to the Family Gifts. The Mitten Tree yielded many warm hats, scarves, mitts which were included in each Gift bag. And, mitts were taken to Margaret’s House, to the East Dartmouth Christian Food Bank, and some are set aside to deliver to Ian Forsyth and Nelson Whynder schools once they resume their usual routine. Lawton’s Drugs donated boxes of toiletries such as shampoos, deodorants, lip balm, handcare lotions, soaps and body washes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and bandages. On Dec. 23, a phone call from KFC, Tacoma Drive, offered to provide a meal and a Wal-Mart gift card for 4 families. Thanks to Pat, East Dartmouth Christian Food Bank, we were able to notify the families who would appreciate this offer. The customers and staff of KFC had donated to this generous cause.
We received a large donation of gently used toys from the Walker family, Cole Harbour Road, which were distributed to several places. Some were taken to the Dept of Community Services Adoption and Foster Care services, some to the East Dartmouth Christian Food Bank, others to the Dartmouth Family Center in north Dartmouth. That was an unexpected bonus for the Outreach committee.
The members of the Outreach Committee are always so willing to work on the White Gift program, and there are many details to be covered. Special thanks must go to Karen and Ernie Nauffts who were always present to check the Family gifts, to sort the mitts and hats, to transport the Family gifts from the basement to Room B, pick up the groceries and restore the church rooms to their usual state after the program was completed. Murdock worked closely with the manager of Baker Drive Sobey’s to get the groceries organized, packed, delivered and paid for, and to obtain some extra gift cards for later use. Thanks to Murdock and Connie for sorting the Mitten Tree goods, making the decisions as to the sizes of the mitts or hats. They also made a special delivery to Sackville after a call came in to the church office.
Thank you to each and every one who participated in the 2016 White Gift program, both the volunteers and the congregation for their gifts, their financial support and their time spent working towards providing a “light in the midst of the darkness in our world”, as Rev. Phillip wrote in his Christmas letter included in each Family’s grocery order. You are, each and every one, a blessing to the world.
January 5, 2016
2015 Christmas Outreach - UPDATE
Once again, the congregation of Woodlawn United church brought hope and joy to many Families at Christmas time. This year, we were able to deliver Shoe Boxes for Metro Non-Profit Housing (47), Regional Independent Students (20), Back Packs (28+) in time for their Christmas celebrations. As well, approximately 30 donations were made to Sleeping Children Around the World, and Brunswick Street Mission appreciated the new underwear for their clients. Mitts, gloves, hats and scarves were in good supply and were added to the Christmas gifts. We still have plenty of warm accessories to distribute to area schools and the Food Bank.
The Outreach Committee prepared Christmas gifts and grocery orders for 31 Families and had 4 grocery orders left over for people who came to the church office in need of assistance.
This Christmas Outreach requires money and volunteers, which are generously given by members of the congregation, the UCW Units, choirs and outside groups. This year, we had phone calls from local businesses offering free meals, gift cards to Wal-Mart and turkeys. It was a wonderful Christmas for those who received and for those who gave. Thank you to everyone for your support of the White Gift program!
May 14, 2015
Imagine having a backyard that is over 500 acres of pristine woods and waters within the Halifax Regional Municipality? Located on Long Lake, Camp Kidston provides campers and renters with the opportunity to experience this oasis of nature in the northeastern corner of HRM. Camp Kidston provides a safe, happy, fun summer camping experience to kids aged 6-17. As a United Church of Canada summer camp, we strive to provide a balance of fun, games, and Christian education.
Catch up on all the latest Kidston news with the 2015 Newsletter.
September 21, 2014
First Simply Supper
The first Simply Supper may be considered as “one small step” towards an Outreach to those in our community and those in the congregation, especially persons living alone who would enjoy sharing a meal with others.
In other words, there was a small crowd (app. 30) at the Supper but they all commented favourably on the hearty casserole with rolls, tomato slices and watermelon. We were pleased to be supported by the congregation attendees as well as about ten people from the community. I found it revealing that one man asked if the food was going to be served at the kitchen door or could he come in. He came in, was welcomed and sat down for a hot supper. Since we had made several pans of casserole, we were able to provide “take outs” for any of the people who wanted them.
The remainder of the pans of casserole, rolls and watermelon slices were taken to Feeding Others of Dartmouth on Monday morning, arriving just in time to fill their need for extra food for the noon meal.
The Outreach members are a fantastic team, working for 2 hours on Saturday morning to prepare the casseroles and returning on Sunday afternoon to get the coffee, tea, cutlery, tomatoes, rolls, etc. ready. The pans of casserole gave us some concern when they were not heating up as quickly as we expected. Our culinary advisors (Brian and Tom) turned up the heat in the oven, making sure that the food did not burn, and on the dot of “serving time” at 5:15pm, produced the food that was steaming hot. Rev. Phillip formally welcomed the crowd, led them in giving thanks for the meal and directed them to the kitchen window where they were served. Several people who came back for seconds, saying that it was very good. There was also a gluten free macaroni and cheese casserole available for those who wanted it.
Many, many thanks to the members of the Outreach committee who worked so willingly to purchase the ingredients, prepare the meal, set up the tables, clean the stoves and helped with the dishwashing. And who gave advice, joined in the higher mathematics of measuring out the ingredients for the recipe and remembered the little things that might have been overlooked. They even took away the garbage and compost materials. There were lots of laughs in the kitchen as we worked together.
We were so grateful to the volunteers who came to help us out. It is very encouraging to know that someone will clean up the tables and chairs after the “crew” has been working all afternoon to prepare the meal. Lauchlin Riehl and friends set up chairs after church, Gerry Gunter, Shirley and Barry Zwicker, Teri Giannou, Adelia Holloway, Ross Osborne, Jeannie Young, Carolyn Read, Marilyn Moors were there to help with the clean up operations.
We want to acknowledge the Gateway Meat Market which donated all of the hamburg used for the casseroles. It was a very generous gesture on their part. Ralph Sams also provided us with rolls, margarine and milk which had been surplus to the needs of the Accessibility Fund’s Fish Chowder on Friday.
Thank you to all, and watch for the posters advertising the next Simply Supper. Come and bring a friend, tell others about the good free meal served at Woodlawn United church.