Inasmuch: Outreach Team

November 2021 | Written by Maribeth Griessel defines stewardship as “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.”  In Matthew 25:40, Jesus gave us a precious promise, “…inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.”  In coming issues of The Porch we will focus on various areas of stewardship, opportunities to serve within our church, knowing that our service to others is truly service to Jesus himself. 

What do these things have in common: baby bottle, peanut butter, coat, crayons, blanket, coffee, jelly, QuikTrip $5 gift card, candy, hand sanitizer, money, baby wipes, shoes, Kleenex, onesies….and so many more?  So glad you asked!  All of the above are items that various sub-groups of the Gashland Outreach Team may collect, ask people to donate, and distribute in many areas.  Each of these groups, as highlighted below, is led by a member of the Outreach Team.

Start with a simple baby bottle, fill with money, donate to Resource Health, and you have just one area of the Outreach Team’s local missions.  Brittany Johnston-Colle oversees collecting items needed by Resource Health as they minister to young parents-to-be.  In addition to the baby bottle drive, completed last month, other needed items include gender-neutral onesies, baby wipes and $5 QuikTrip gift cards.  As Brittany encourages all of us, “If you want to get more involved at church, joining a committee is a great way to get plugged in.”

At some point in May and September, you may see a City Union Mission truck parked in the church lot.  Items collected at various times include clothing, shoes, paper products and canned goods.  Occasionally, when the CUM truck is not here, Joyce Grady may provide her van as a collection point for donations.  She explains, “These Outreach opportunities would not be possible without the GEPC congregation’s generosity.  We are indeed very blessed!” The PB&J Team meets monthly (second Tuesday, 9:30-11 a.m.) to prepare 450 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which are then delivered to City Union Mission.

An in-depth local mission article in this issue of The Porch focuses on Hillcrest Hope. To summarize this Outreach Team area, Mike and Bonnie Zachary explain some of their work, which includes maintaining communication with the Hillcrest staffs at their Avondale and Liberty locations.  Families or individuals in need of assistance may be offered a temporary housing unit, complete with one queen size bed, one twin bed and one set of bunk beds.  They may stay in this unit for 90 days at no cost, while working with budget counselors who help them with financial problem solving. GEPC funds one such apartment, Unit 11.  “If you want to become more involved, become a budget counselor at Hillcrest Hope,” Mike and Bonnie added.  

Located in the Northeast area of Kansas City (south of the river), Eleos operates a coffee shop within a ministry center.  For the past three years they have collected winter coats to distribute to needy individuals.  This year they are planning to provide a Thanksgiving meal for at least 110 families.  Robin Bowin can provide additional information to anyone wishing to support Eleos.

Dale Anderson reports that Gashland offers monetary support to 11 different missionaries.  He has provided information and pictures in past issues of The Porch highlighting some of these missions.  

Among other areas served by the Outreach Team are Basketball (ask Caleb Mason!), Breakaway and Trunk or Treat.  “Breakaway is one of our largest outreach efforts to our community where we use sports to teach kids about Jesus,” explained Pastor Michael Morefield.  He adds, “Trunk or Treat is a wonderful way to invite our community into our church and to declare the love of Christ to them.”

Mark Lancaster works with Gashland’s Outreach to two area elementary schools, Gashland and Clardy.  Included in this mission work is a backpack drive at the beginning of the school year and donating supplies needed by the teachers around the first of the year.

Various requests for donations will be listed in The Link.  Be watching for an announcement in The Porch after the first of the year! Outreach has exciting new things in the works.