In April, as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to impact every aspect of life, the Outreach committee, compromised of Lynn Farnell, Andrea Gordon, Tim Green, Kyle Marchesseault and Ann Wessel, and Vestry approved dispersals to several organizations working to support members of our wider community. Recipients of these dispersals included:
-> Common Cathedral to support people experiencing homelessness
-> Mass Bay Community College Emergency Grant Fund to help students in need
-> United Way Pearl St. Cupboard & Café to support food insecure individuals
-> Rosie’s Place to support women experiencing homelessness
-> Esperanaza Academy to support their student community and take advantage of a gift matching opportunity
-> Food pantries in Newton, Needham and Wellesley
St. Mary’s has also continued to support immigrant students at Mass Bay Community College with their studies. So far in 2020, St. Mary’s paid tuition fees for five classes for Mass Bay students. Funds for these classes come from St. Mary’s Outreach funds as well as the Barbara Robinson Fund. Thank you to Lynn Farnell and Kyle Marchesseault for being the point people on this.
In addition to monetary donations, St. Mary’s parishioners also addressed an acute need created by COVID-19 — the need for personal protective equipment. Kitty Smith and Tim Green were part of a group of individuals who worked with WeStar Alliance, a community of Chinese-American professionals in Weston, to import and distribute more than 5,500 masks to common cathedral, The Women’s Lunch Program, Rosie’s Place, Epiphany School, St. Mary’s Dorchester’s food pantry, Haley House and several nursing homes including Elizabeth Seton (Wellesley), Goddard House (Brookline) and the Diocese-operated Sherrill House (JP). Masks were also provided to shut-in members of St. Mary’s. Thank you to Kitty and Tim for all their work.
At the end of the summer, we also continued our annual school supply drive for our neighbors at New Falls apartments. St. Mary’s parishioners pitched in to purchase backpacks and school supplies for 23 students at New Falls. Amidst all the lack of normalcy this year, it was great to be able to help our neighbors at New Falls again. Thank you to everyone who donated bookbags.
Through St. Mary’s book drive this fall, hundreds of books have been donated to More Than Words, an online, retail, pop-up, and wholesale bookselling businesses. More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers young adults who are in the foster care system, court-involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. Picture the number of books delivered to its Waltham location as filling the truck and back seat of a Subaru Outback two times! More Than Words’ donation volume is down, so whatever we can add to their inventory will be greatly appreciated. Although this book drive ends on October 31st, as books mount up again, please set them aside to donate to the next drive that will take place this winter. Before going virtual, St. Mary’s also collected items from the “little red wagon” to donate to A Place to Turn, a food pantry serving MetroWest clients, and collected toiletries to Rosie’s Place. Thank you to everyone who donated books and to Amy Molloy for her ideas and many deliveries!
Members and friends of St. Mary’s Stitch and Chat continue to combine their skills to create knitted and crocheted afghans. So far, more than a dozen afghans have found new homes. Adult-size blankets were given to Hale House, a residential care facility for seniors in Boston. Baby and youth-size blankets were given to Hugcrafters, a Newton-based charity that distributes afghans to hospitals and rehab facilities throughout the Boston area. Check out its heartwarming project and meet Diane Donnellan, the, spirit and master crafter behind, and in front of, Hugcrafters. https://www.facebook.com/hugcrafters
. Look for opportunities to join in making afghans this winter! Thank you, members and friends of Stitch and Chat!
The Book of Common Prayer offers this thanksgiving for the mission of the church:
Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen (BCP, 838).
– Kyle Marchesseault, Outreach Chair
– Amy Molloy, Vestry Member