Here are some of the more local organizations and programs we support with our time and money:
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC): FMSC is a locally based group that is committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. Several times each year we pack meals that will be sent to various places around the world to help those in greatest need. We also support FMSC through our mission fund offerings. Learn more at www.fmsc.org.
Lewis House: 24-hour domestic abuse safe shelters for women and their children, with two locations in Dakota County – Hastings and Eagan. At Advent we collect travel sized toiletry items (new-unopened) that are made available to residents who come to a shelter, often with nothing other than the clothing on their backs. They are very grateful to receive help in the form of everyday hygiene items that we often take for granted!
Armful of Love Holiday Gift Giving Program: Through Dakota County’s 360 Communities Advent sponsors several local families providing gifts of clothing, toys, books, music, etc. to share our rich blessings and fill their holiday with joy and love. We also occasionally support other programs of 360 Communities. Learn more at about all of the www.360communities.org.
The Sheridan Story: This local organization provides a modest amount of food to children on Fridays to keep them fed over the weekend. Advent UMC supports this program financially through our mission partner fund. We have previously also helped packed the food to be distributed in the organization’s warehouse, and helped to anonymously distribute the food into the backpacks of kids at a local elementary school. If you are interested in helping pack or distribute you can learn more about The Sheridan Story at www.thesheridanstory.com.
Share While You Shop Food Drive: Working with The Open Door (3910 Rahn Road, Eagan), our food drive is a five-month program (April-August) when volunteers sign up to provide specially needed items on a monthly basis. Donations are brought to the church for re-delivery to the food shelf. The Open Door operates a food shelf for individuals and families living on limited income and in need of help to keep food in the cupboards and refrigerator from the beginning of the month through the end. Donations of food and money are given to Eagan Resource Center throughout the year. Learn more about The Open Door Pantry at www.theopendoorpantry.org. In March we also collect cash donations as part of Minnesota FoodShare month. These funds are donated to different organizations each year, most recently St. Paul Neighborhood House. More information on Neighborhood House is at www.neighb.org.
Simpson Housing Services: With locations in Minneapolis, “SHS” houses, supports and advocates for men and women experiencing homelessness. Among other services, SHS provides short-term shelters where homeless individuals are offered a safe place to sleep, a clean bed, a shower, laundry services, a warm meal, resource referrals, and perhaps most importantly, the simple dignity of being addressed by name. Volunteers, including those from Advent UMC, help prepare and serve dinner at Simpson’s two shelters 365 days a year. Watch Advent publications for periodic meal service dates or email Outreach Chair. For more information, go to www.simpsonhousing.org.
Metro Paint-a-thon: This is a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches which annually serves the seven-county metro area by rallying volunteer teams from corporations, congregations, and civic groups to paint the homes of low-income seniors and people with disabilities. This event is always held the first weekend in August, and each year Advent recruits a volunteer team to aid someone in need in our community. For more information, go to www.gmcc.org.