Local Service Opportunities 2022
44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…
As we wrap up 2022, we want to let you know about the variety of ways that our amazing congregation reached out to their neighbors and our community these last nine months through our Local Service Opportunity projects this year.
Community Sharing Project – This year we were challenged to donate money for ten local organizations that are working at supporting our diverse community members who are struggling with issues involving food, housing, clothing, utilities, mental health, and being refugees. The organizations chosen for 2022 were: Bright Side Community Center, Church World Services, Lancaster County Food Hub, Lancaster County Homeless Coalition, Lone Oak Animal-Assisted Therapeutic & Educational Services, Parish Resource Center, Plaza San Juan Baptista, TeenHope, Tenfold (formerly Tabor Community Services), and The Mix (formerly Arbor Place). The planning team set this year’s goal to meet or exceed last year’s giving of $58,000. We were able to raise a little over $48,000 without our matching fund this year. We ended this project by inviting these organizations to come share with us how they would use their gifts of $4,800 this year. They reported during our Missions Sharing time on Sunday, October 30, which was an amazing experience to see what these organizations were doing to support our hurting community by working together. We received many letters from the community organizations thanking Neffsville for your generous support of their work. The planning team for this project this year was Brianna Moyer, John Bomberger and Phil Hostetter.
Educational and Service Opportunities for Children and Families – The passion of this planning team was to continue to support and encourage the children’s ministry here at Neffsville Mennonite Church and Ally Weaver, our Director of Children’s Faith Formation. They worked with Ally to create a variety of activities for our children and their families this spring, summer, and fall. Some of these activities were the Samaritan Boxes for children overseas, the MYF food box packing and box delivering on November 17, Girls and Boys Clubs this fall, and Parents Night Out this month. The planning team is Marcy High, Dave Bruce, and Linda Bomberger, working in coordination with Ally Weaver.
Lancaster Area Compassion Project – On Saturday, July 30, 37 volunteers from our church, ages 12-70+, reached out to seven of our neighboring families by completing small home repairs, yard work, and various other home improvement projects. It was neat to see everyone pitch in regardless of abilities or age, and willingness to stick with the job until it was done, which was later that day, or some even returned days later to complete their projects. Various individuals from this group also helped cover some of the costs of these projects, and the rest came out of the fundraising for these projects. In this Lancaster Area Compassion Project, we worked with LOVE, INC, which provides a list of requested projects to be worked on by our church. Then Dave Leaman and Bob Bear divided up these requests and visited the families, to determine the type of work, skills, and tools needed to complete their projects on July 30th. There were a number of people disappointed that they were not able to join this activity this year and hoping it will return next year! Some of the families we supported are starting their list of projects for next year’s team! Dave Leaman, Bonnie Bruce, and Bob Bear head up this planning team this year.
Mental Health Awareness: You Are Not Alone – This year, we determined that we needed to help support the emotional and mental needs of our community since they have grown so much from our Covid isolation and the stresses of our economy. This planning team desired to introduce two of the many mental health organizations that are working with the youth of our community, and these two were Lone Oak Animal-Assisted Therapeutic and Educational Services, and TeenHope (which is run by Samaritan Counseling Center). These two organizations were highlighted during Sunday School on Sunday, October 23, by having them share their work in supporting our community in their unique ways. We had decided to add these two organizations to the list of community partners who we were supporting through our Community Sharing Program as well. The planning team for these projects was composed of Shelby Witmer, Phil Chapman, and Dave Bruce.
MYF Blessings of Hope Food Distribution Project – John Bomberger worked with Eszter Bjorkman and the youth leadership to organize a trip to Blessings of Hope on November 17 for about 20 youth and families to pack 40 food boxes. Later these boxes were taken and distributed to some of the needy of our community and church. John Bomberger was the planning team for this project.
NMC Community Garden Project – Matthew and Katie Rose Moffett, the planning team for this project, started the conversation around our church about starting a community garden someplace on our property. Some of the next steps need to happen during this winter and early spring if we want to make this a reality for our church. We will need to develop a group of volunteers who have some gardening experience and are willing to be on-site, being a presence and helping to maintain our garden grounds. If you are interested/curious/willing to consider this opportunity to serve, please contact Matthew or Katie Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are grateful for all those from Neffsville who took part and lead in these local outreaches and helped to show the “good fruit” of our congregation as we blessed those around us. Please consider being part of this yearly process of developing our Local Service Outreaches for next year: we need people with a passion to help organize projects next year for our church community as a way to show their good fruit within our community!