ROSEBUD LAKOTA RESERVATION PROJECTS
A young man who grew up in our church spent the last six years in Nebraska and South Dakota working with the local native peoples toward reconciliation, mutual learning, respect, and trust. He worked in church youth, native, and hospital ministries, and he founded a Young Adult Christian Community. During the last three years, he was a teaching assistant at a middle school in the Rosebud Lakota Reservation. That school district is one of the poorest in the nation. He began a Boy Scout troop, and led them in bonfires, trips to significant cultural locations, and nature hikes. Since no Girl Scout troop was available, he welcomed girls into activities and service.
Our church sent every child affiliated with his troop - 24 kids - a new backpack filled with school supplies. We then provided funding for him to purchase books written by and for First Americans, beginning The Native Library. We also sent ten boxes of children's books including fiction, science, geography, and history which were given to the children to take home to encourage reading, and we are gathering more books to send in the future.
We are currently teaming up with the Rockland Boy Scouts who plan an Eagle Scout project to build a shed at the reservation to store bikes, sports equipment, and supplies from the Community Garden the Lakota scouts helped make. The new shed will free indoor space for the needs of the growing youth center.
We offer the use of our building to several great groups: Narcotics Anonymous and AA meetings help attendees in their quest to recover from drug and alcohol addictions. Meals on Wheels, which provides nutritious meals and social contact to home-bound people in our community, uses our location. Another Step offers developmentally and physically challenged clients exercise classes, social interaction and fun, and life-skill teachings such as how to prepare meals. The Rockland Garden Club meets to learn and to plan ways to beautify our area. Several concerts have been performed here, benefiting from our sanctuary’s wonderful piano and acoustics. Our Thrift Shop is housed in our education wing.
The building and grounds also provide a setting for our traditional church functions including worship, prayer, Sunday School, choir and other music, baptisms, weddings, funerals, parties, dance classes, ice cream socials, international pot luck meals, and meetings of various church and community organizations. Our facilities enable us to perform all of our outreach and community projects.
Our thrift shop, shown in greater detail on the Angel's Attic page, is an outreach project of the church. Clients in all economic situations benefit from being able to purchase very low cost clothing, household supplies, and other goods. Some people send these items to people in need in their home countries. One woman says she likes to encourage children to read by placing our children’s books in various medical and other offices throughout the town. We also have sent many books to our friends in the Rosebud Lakota Reservation. Many items that cannot be used in our shop are passed on to The Salvation Army, while donated, damaged blankets are taken to an animal shelter for their use. This shop is important environmentally. Every item that is reused instead of being thrown into our landfills prevents greater energy use and pollution that is inevitable whenever something is manufactured. And last but not least, our shop has become a mini-community, as volunteer workers and shoppers get to know each other, sharing some personal stories, concerns, and laughter.
CUMAC and PEOPLE TO PEOPLE FOOD PANTRIES
CUMAC is the Methodist church's outreach project in Patterson New Jersey, one of the poorest locations in the nation. CUMAC has a food pantry, thrift shop and job training programs. Several of our members volunteer weekly. Many others donate food and clothing and also attend the exciting fund raising auction each spring. The first Sunday of every month, congregants bring food to be donated to People to People's food pantry.
Our members have raised many thousands of dollars for good work through our Alternative Christmas. We offer gift cards for donations to conservation and community assistance organizations.
Our Sunday School classes has sponsored collections of supplies for several great organizations such as TOUCH which helps those with AIDS, Heifer International which provides farm animals to help families sustain themselves, and People to People which provides food and clothing to Rockland residents. Every fall, the children also Trick or Treat for UNICEF.
Helping Hands of Rockland County is a community organization that helps homeless men and women get off the streets by providing shelter from December to April. Helping Hands also provides assistance by referring homeless men and women in the areas of employment, housing and substance abuse.
Our church has been a vital part of Helping Hands since its inception in November of 2004. We provide shelter and serve warm dinners three days a month during the winter season. During this time, volunteers are needed to help shelter, cook and transport people to and from our church and the pick up point in Spring Valley. To find out more about the program, visit Helping Hands' website and blog at rocklandhelpinghands.org.
Each November/December, our church members fill dozens of shoe boxes with small toys, books, arts and crafts supplies etc. as gift boxes that are sent to children in many locations throughout the world.
Our church has also sent individuals on mission teams to other parts of the world including New Orleans, Haiti, Russia and Nepal. These teams have provided monetary and moral support as well as muscle power and some expertise working on homes, orphanages, and schools.