OUR VISION: We are here to be THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
OUR MISSION: WE SEEK GOD’S PRESENCE WITHIN; WE SHARE GOD’S LOVE; WE SERVE GOD’S CREATION WITH LOVING KINDNESS THROUGHOUT OUR COMMUNITY.
We began this ministry October, 2009, reaching out to our community by assisting the Cottages of Pine Hill Assisted Living. We placed a Christmas tree in our church lobby, and with the help of Vicky Hudgins, the activities director at the Cottages, placed specially created ornaments with each resident’s name, on the tree. Our congregants selected one or more names, purchased Christmas gifts, and brought them to the Cottages for their Christmas party. We sang Christmas carols and watched as they opened their gifts.
In 2010, we began to connect with the Volunteer Way, located on Congress Street, Port Richey. It was here that our ministry was very helpful with the Volunteer Way soup kitchen on Moon Lake Road. Our Outreach ministry also provided about 17 turkeys and all the trimmings for those families that were being served by Volunteer Way Holiday Program. This ministry continued this outreach until the early part of 2011.
From this time on Unity Community Outreach Ministry started coordinating our outreach programs with other churches in our community, including Community Congregational Church in New Port Richey, St. Thomas Aquinas in New Port Richey, and Generations Christian Church in Trinity. Our first combined program was the C.R.O.P. Walk. These events are held all over our country to support the elimination of world hunger. Our community programs also include volunteering for the United Way Cold Night Shelter. There are currently 7 to 8 teams of volunteers in Pasco County. Some from churches, others from Rotary clubs, and some from organizations that service the homeless.
That takes us up to February 2012. Our minister, Rev. Barbara Williams, presented us with yet another way to serve our community. This program is called the Homeless Veterans Stand Down. She asked if this would be something we, as a ministry, would be willing to take on. Of course, we said: Yes! Since that first event, incidentally, held right here on our church grounds, we have now formed A CORE GROUP that meet approximately 9 to 10 months before the annual event is scheduled to take place. Our mission is to lift our homeless veterans out of the “lack/limitation” consciousness into a consciousness of “I am worthy”!
Then, in 2012, yet another opportunity came our way to serve. We attended a monthly meeting at Generations Christian Church in Trinity and were introduced to a program implemented by a gentleman named Lewis Hill of Pinellas County. This program was set up to pack weekend sacks for those students at the elementary level being fed by the special school lunch program during the week. These kids would normally go without anything to eat over the weekend. Our Outreach Ministry and the Community Congregational Church Outreach Ministry agreed to adopt the PACK-A-SACK 4 KIDS PROGRAM as a joint program. The first year we began by packing for 9 students and Community Congregational began with 5. The second year we packed for 22 and Community Congregational packed for 13. This year, we agreed to pack sacks for 30 kids and Community Congregational will pack for 20 kids!!
A huge community outreach event took place this year in the spring. It was a coming together of community that we have never experienced before. In March of 2014, One Community Now, under the direction of Patti Templeton, decided to begin our own PASCO COUNTY HUNGER WALK. With permission from the planning board of the Pasco County Chasco Fiesta, we organized a walk that brought in a total of $50,000.00 in donations. And, all the monies stayed right here in Pasco to support PACK-A-SACK and Meals on Wheels!
We know that there are many more programs that we as a community can serve…if we just listen to those that have the “out of the box” ideas! With an open heart and a community of service anything is possible….let us look for all those possibilities!
We want to thank each of you for your generous contributions of your time and gifts that make this world a better place for those in need in our community. You are the light of the world!
Richard and Pat Schell/coordinators
Unity Community Outreach Ministry 2014