OVERVIEW OF OUR MISSION
We at First Presbyterian believe that one of our duties as followers of Jesus Christ is to care for our fellow human beings without prejudice of race, creed, color, national origin, ideology, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. As disciples of Jesus Christ we welcome to our community all who struggle in this human venture.
The Bible records a story where Jesus fed a multitude of hungry people with only five loaves and two fishes. Jesus performed a miracle! Whether he literally divided the loaves and fishes, or convinced others to give of their own hoarded food, a miracle was brought about on that plain in ancient Israel. We at First Presbyterian believe that a miracle is happening in our midst too. Our mission is as follows:
THE COMMUNITY WE SERVE
Within a five mile radius of the church there are 70,000 people living is this small Florida Gulf community. The average median FAMILY income is under $40K with households made up of several generations for families sharing resources. Our primary user of the Food Pantry, is a 20 something single mother with one to three children. Our schools serve free our reduced meals to 80% of enrolled children
THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Our Shopping Experience has been in operation for seven months, open once a week, and we have given out 9143 pounds of food which has feed 1541 people at a cost of $4520! People are welcomed to come and choose the items they like to eat and are given several well-balanced nutritional meals every visit.
COMMUNITY FAMILY MEAL
In conjunction with the food distribution ministry, First Presbyterian Church of Port Richey, Florida, also serves a weekly hot meal to the community. All are invited and no one has to prove a need. We feed all who come to our door. To date, we have served over 200 hot meals free of charge.
We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. This is also part of our work. When people come in, they not only receive necessities like hot meals, groceries, and clothing, they receive benefit through our partnering with other helping agencies and governmental services. We have contacts with Metropolitan Ministries, Volunteer Way, Feed America, and other non-profits where folks can get help searching for a job, becoming self-sufficient, receive educational benefits, and help for addictions.`
Last but not least, we are equipped to address the spiritual and pastoral needs of all who come for food. Under the guidance of The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey G. Guild, a retired Air Force Chaplain and Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, volunteers are available to be with those in need. Our volunteers receive some training to equip them to listen, pray, and recognize referral needs.
We believe that religion is a personal choice, and people are free to partake of our counseling, prayer, and worship services as offered and food is in no way contingent on attending a worship service or hearing a sermon.
God has more for us to do. I appeal to you to join with us in this important ministry. Consider a donation to The Shopping Experience (the Community Family Meal is fully funded due to the generosity of Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa, Florida and others). You can click the donation page on our website and contribute to this ministry.
WHAT WE NEED
We need funds to buy groceries to stock our food pantry for the summer months. We purchase food from a cooperative food bank called “Feed America, Tampa Bay” and from local grocery stores. One hundred percent of your donations will be used for food to feed our community. None of the donations to The Shopping Experience will be used to fund Church activities.
When we moved to Florida six years ago, I was shocked to see the poverty in the community we choose to make my home. After serving as a chaplain in the United States Air Force for 28 years, West Pasco County Florida would be our “forever” home. I serve a small Christian community that was facing extinction.
We put our long-cherished beliefs to the test and stepped out in faith. It was decided that we either live into our beliefs, or close the church. The focus of First Presbyterian Church is now on the needs of the community in which we live and worship. The abundance of generosity has been overwhelming as has the needs of the community. We are good at getting food into the hands, mouths and stomachs of families who need a little help to make ends meet. Again, 100% of funds received through this drive will be spent on food for the pantry.