Our next IHNA week is May 6-13.
Please sign up to help provide hospitality at our church for homeless families.
Please click here for the 2018 Outreach Grant Application. The deadline for submission is November 1, 2018.
Click here for the list of organizations First Presbyterian is currently supporting with an outreach grant.
First Presbyterians have a long history of loving our neighbors in Athens. As individuals, our members care for others in the community in many ways from serving on agency boards to volunteering in hands-on roles. As a church, we are directly involved in the following outreach endeavors:
Casa de Amistad Christmas Food Baskets – First Presbyterian members provide food for traditional Hispanic holiday meals packed in baskets that can be used for laundry. These are distributed at a Christmas gathering hosted by Casa.
Downtown Parade of Lights Hospitality – This nighttime Christmas parade is staged just behind our church, so we provide refreshments (hot cider and cookies) and make restrooms available to parade participants (many of them, children) who often wait for hours in the cold.
Food Sundays – On the first Sunday of each month, First Presbyterians are invited to bring nonperishable food for Athens Area Emergency Food Bank. There are always three or four suggestions from the food bank of needed items, though any food is welcomed. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving members bring bags of food—enough for a family of four to enjoy a holiday meal. More than 300 bags are collected and delivered to the food bank.
Habitat for Humanity – As part of the last capital campaign, we pledged $70,000 for the building of a Habitat house. Beginning in the summer of 2015 volunteers from First Presbyterian and also our partners, Ebenezer Baptist Church West and the Presbyterian Student Center at UGA, constructed a home for the Bishop family at 145 Carter Street in Athens (for more information click here). This is the fourth Habitat house this congregation has helped build.
Holiday Benevolence Market – Begun by First Presbyterian Church in 1994 as an ecumenical effort, at this market you can purchase “symbolic gifts” from 30 local agencies. Examples of gifts are a box of nails for $10 that will be used to build a Habitat for Humanity house or a $200 scholarship to underwrite a week of Extra Special People summer camp for a child with disabilities. Annually this market raises $15,000 to $20,000. For the first time in 2017, the Holiday Benevolence Market will immediately follow the Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship, November 19 at the Tate Center Grand Hall.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens (IHNA) – Four or five times a year, for a week each time, First Presbyterian Church hosts homeless families, aided by members of Congregation Children of Israel. It requires approximately 70 trained volunteers to provide hospitality to these families.
International Craft Fair – This fall fair is a great place to purchase Christmas presents. It features fair-trade crafts from around the world ordered through Ten Thousand Villages as well as those created by members. Proceeds support mission trips and outreach projects.
Jubilee Partners – In the summer of 2017 a team from FPC is enlarging a guest house at Jubilee Partners, adding a bedroom and living room and renovating the kitchen. While staying here a refugee family will learn English, receive medical care, and become familiar with our culture.
Knit for Kids & More – This group meets in the church parlor from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. during Wednesday@First programs. They knit together as they socialize, making items both to support our church’s mission trips and for charity.
Live Nativity – We put on a live Nativity in our parking lot for the enjoyment of the Athens community, complete with all the usual costumed characters–Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Wise Men, and Shepherds– plus some 20 “pet-able” animals ranging from a camel to goats and bunnies. Additionally, there are children’s crafts, live music, and refreshments indoors. Approximately 700 people attend this event.
Meals on Wheels – In addition to driving a regular route to deliver hot meals to older adults and those with disabilities, First Presbyterians volunteer to drive routes on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
MLK Day of Service – Annually First Presbyterian sends work teams to participate in this citywide service day in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Project sites our volunteers have worked at include Brooklyn Cemetery, Project Safe Thrift Store, Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery, and West Broad Market Garden.
Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen – Once a month a volunteer team from First Presbyterian buys, prepares, and serves lunch at Our Daily Bread. This soup kitchen is located at nearby First Baptist Church and is a program of Action Ministries. Approximately a hundred people are fed at each meal.
Presbyterian Student Center at UGA Meals – We provide Sunday night meals for the students at the Center six times a year.
Project Safe – A team from First Presbyterian Church goes quarterly to the Project Safe Thrift Store to sort donated clothes and household items. Proceeds from the thrift store fund services offered to victims of domestic abuse. Several times a year our members prepare or purchase simple suppers for client meetings.
Red Cross Blood Drive – Annually we sponsor a blood drive at church.
Salvation Army Angel Tree – Members purchase clothes and toys for an “angel” (child) for Christmas. Each year around 150 children have a brighter holiday thanks to First Presbyterians.
Water Station Volunteers – First Presbyterians staff water stations at the annual AthHalf Half Marathon and the Twilight 5K Run. We think it’s important to be a vital part of the Athens community and are pleased to help out at these events. In addition we offer an informal 6:30 a.m. pre-race worship service for the participants and volunteers of AthHalf.
…Additionally, our Children and Youth participate in numerous outreach projects throughout the year. Examples include trick-or-treating for UNICEF and collecting pop tops for Ronald McDonald House. The middle and high schoolers take a week long mission trip each summer. Also, our church has had a commitment for the past fifty years to early childhood education through our Weekday School. In addition to housing and providing many support services to our Weekday School, the church awards some partial scholarships for families in need.