Mission of the Month

August – 2017

Women’s Storybook Project of Texas is a non-profit, interfaith program that connects children with their incarcerated mothers through literature.  Volunteers travel to Texas female prisons to record offenders as they read stories to their children.  The mothers also give short messages and the CDs and new books are then mailed to the children.  This gives them a chance to hear their mothers’ voices while the mothers are away.

It is a simple idea with a big impact!  The children are connecting with their mothers through listening and reading good children’s literature.  The mothers’ self-esteem increases because they know that they are doing something positive for their children.  Since participation in the program is earned by good behavior for 90 days, the behavior at the prisons has improved

One of the long-term goals of Women’s Storybook Project is to help decrease the rate of recidivism.  Connecting the children and mothers would prevent the mothers from returning to prison.  Another goal is to prevent incarceration of the children whose parents have been in prison.  This is a very high statistic.

The idea for WSP originated in 1993 with a program founded by Lutheran Social Services in Chicago.  Judith Dullnig was inspired by friends in Louisville, KY who had a similar program.  After about a year of research, connecting with a social worker within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, finding volunteers and searching for funding, Storybook Project began within the outreach program at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Austin, TX.  Five volunteers carried four tape recorders, 25 new books, cassette tapes, and padded mailers to the Hilltop facility in Gatesville, TX in 2003.  The Gatesville area has six female prisons and has the largest number of female offenders in one area in the entire country.

Our congregation decided to donate to this important project for our August Mission of the Month.  Pictured below is Susan Hunter who organized this month’s mission and made sure the books were delivered to the volunteers.  Just a sampling of books is shown in these pictures…you can see a box in the pew behind which contained many more books.

 

July – 2017

Wise Hope Shelter and Crises Center has received donations several times from our congregation and we have been told repeatedly how much everything is appreciated.

We were informed that paper products are needed regularly as they are used on a daily basis.  Our July Mission of the Month was to provide the shelter with as many paper products as we could.  As you can see from the pictures, we did an outstanding job.  The pictures show a lot of the items we gathered.  Also, Angie Whitley in pictured carrying some product into the church.

June – 2017

Wise County has residents who are in need of assistance with food during the month.   Along with W.A.R.M., Wise County now has a mobile food bank that comes once a month (third Saturday) to provide food and some other necessities for those in need.

As our June Mission of the month we provide cases of water to be distributed as needed.  Below is a picture of Bruce Outland.

May Mission of the Month – 2017

Yay!  Summertime.  All kids love summer–no school, sleep late, play with friends–fun times!  Right?  Yes; that’s right for many children, but some have to leave their homes due to domestic violence or sexual abuse.

The Wise Hope Shelter and Crisis Center was our May Mission of the Month.   A call was made to the shelter asking what our focus should be because we wanted to concentrate on collecting what they needed most.  We were told they would appreciate whatever we wanted to donate; however, the one thing the shelter does not buy is snack foods of any kind.  Because school would be out and children would be with their mothers at the shelter, they wouldn’t have any kind of snack food.  Also, they would welcome 100% fruit juice in small bottles or cans and flip flops for the women because they are not allowed to go barefoot at the shelter.

We had such a good time shopping for snacks.   We also bought a lot of juice, flip flops, and some paper products, and filled up the back of an SUV.   Someone even bought bubbles for the kids to play with while at the shelter.  As one woman put it, “What kid doesn’t like bubbles?”  Here are several pictures of the goodies we collected.

           

If you know of anyone who needs to leave a dangerous situation, below is the shelter’s information:

Wise Hope Shelter & Crisis Center

24 Hour Crisis Hotline – 940-626-4855

P.O. Box 569 • 608 North Business 81-287 • Decatur, TX 76234

Tel: 940-626-4855  • Fax: 940-626-4117

April Mission of the Month – 2017

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth supports the refugee families in North Texas and we, as a congregation, agreed to collect items needed during the month of April.  We gathered gently used or new sheets and comforters, new towels, wash cloths, clothes hangers, small trash cans, toothbrush holders, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap and soap dishes–basically anything for the bathroom or bedroom.  The refugees fleeing from peril come here with nothing and have to start from scratch.  It is our hope that we have made a difference.  

Below is a picture of the things we gathered:

                                         
                                          Jill McClendon, The Rev. Anthony Hiatt, Julie Lundy-Booker

March Mission of the Month – 2017

March was a very busy month for us.  Beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 1, we partnered with our friends from United Methodist Church, Decatur, and offered Ashes-to-Go for those wishing to receive them before work.  We had quite a few folks drive or walk up to receive their ashes.  Below are pictures of some of the “customers.”  Also, a call was received from Wise Health System asking if someone would come to the hospital to impose ashes for patients and staff wishing to receive.  It was a wonderful beginning of the Lenten Season.

                                 

      The Rev. Anthony Hiatt                                  The Rev. Brian Bosworth                       Felicity Hollister, Jill McClendon, Fr. Hiatt, (in back)  Phil                                                                                                                                                                                              McClendon, Marquis Whitley

During March we focused on two different missions.  The Wise County Health Fair was held at the Decatur Civic Center on March 25.  In support of the Health Fair and Carter Blood Care, members thought that donating blood would be a good mission.  So between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. several of us donated.

If you wish to donate at any time please call Carter Blood Care (817) 412-5370

                        Angie Whitley and Fr. Tony Hiatt                                                Ellen Whitley                                                                 Jeromy Trask

We also supported 4Saints Food Pantry in Fort Worth.

4 Saints Episcopal Food Pantry is a new Episcopal food bank at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located in the Meadowbrook neighborhood of east Fort Worth, a food desert. The pantry board has members from the Fort Worth East Deanery, which includes St Stephen’s, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Luke’s, and St Alban’s. Annabelle Sauer, a Girl Scout from Troop 3012, also serves on the board. Through Sauer’s efforts, 4 Saints Food Pantry received a $500 grant from a local utility company.

Our congregation gathered items throughout the month; below are a few pictures of items collected.

                                                                                                                                          Items donated                                                                    Angie Whitley, Jill McClendon, Sarah Walker, and Clydie Walker

February Mission of the Month – 2017

We set aside February to focus on one of our own.  Fred Dery was diagnosed with colon cancer.  What is so amazing is that if he didn’t have the insurance he had, he would never have gotten the colonoscopy which found the cancer. Because it was found early, the mass was removed successfully and no chemo was needed.  Friends and family organized a fundraiser to help the family while Fred was not able to work.

It is our hope that everyone gets a routine colonoscopy as often as your doctor feels is necessary.

                          Above is the flier and a few pictures of those who came out to have a good meal and bid on items donated for auction.

   

 

December Mission of the Month – 2016

Think back!  Think back to when you were a young child and the excitement you felt in your tummy as you thought about Christmas.  Most of us tried to be good so Santa would come and leave us goodies in our stockings as well as presents under the tree.  Think about the big eyes and the wide grins on faces of children when they wake up to see things under the Christmas tree.  My mama always said on Christmas morning, “I bet there are a lot of excited kids this morning!”

Now think about some children whose lives have been disrupted by abuse or abandonment.  Families broken apart that do not have the funds to purchase fun things for deserving kids.  The Wise Hope Shelter and Crisis Center, Decatur, TX,  has an Angel Tree with the names of children of clients of the past year.  These are needy, one-parent households who are not eligible for other gift-giving charities.

Our little congregation took ten angels off their tree this year.  We had children from 3 to 15 and all of us had such a great time shopping for these kids.  I know we couldn’t take all the angels off the tree, but we tried to do what we could.

Don’t you wish you could peek in the children’s windows on Christmas morning and witness the precious looks on their faces as they take in everything Santa had brought them?  I would love to see their big eyes as the excitement of the day fills their hearts.

Thank you to all our members for giving to families who need a little extra help at Christmas time.  Below are pictures of the things we donated.

If you know of anyone who needs to leave a dangerous situation, below is the shelter’s information:

Wise Hope Shelter & Crisis Center

24 Hour Crisis Hotline – 940-626-4855

P.O. Box 569 • 608 North Business 81-287 • Decatur, TX 76234

Tel: 940-626-4855  • Fax: 940-626-4117

November Mission of the Month – 2016

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Because we have been blessed with more than we really need, we don’t always think about where our next meal will come from.   There are children in our schools who go home on Friday and don’t have much, if anything, to eat throughout the weekend.  And, if there is a long holiday, it is even harder.

Our outreach Mission to the Eagle Food Pantry at McCarroll Middle School in Decatur has been extremely successful and rewarding.  This program provides easy-to-fix foods that children can put in their backpacks and take home for the weekend or holidays.

As you can see we have collected numerous items for the children and it is our hope that we will be able to help them again.  Thanks everyone for your generosity.