The church annually gives outreach grants to organizations which serve those in need, especially those who are poor, homeless, under-educated, or have physical or mental health problems. The list of current recipients is here. Applications for 2022 grants may be found here and are due November 1, 2021.
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:
Ath-Half – First Presbyterians staff a water station at the annual half marathon race. We also offer an informal 6:30 a.m. pre-race worship service for participants and supporters.
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 near 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.
Family Promise of Athens (Formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens) – 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. For information about Family Promise (formerly IHNA) at FPC, click here.
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.
Jubilee Partners – In the summer of 2017 a team from FPC enlarged 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.
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
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 –Twice a month volunteer teams from First Presbyterian buy, prepare, and serve a meal (one lunch and one breakfast) at Our Daily Bread. This soup kitchen is located at nearby First Baptist Church. Approximately a hundred people are fed each time.
Presbyterian Student Center at UGA Meals – We provide Tuesday 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.
…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.