Serving in the World Through Outreach

Christ has no body now on earth but yours. 
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. 
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, 
and yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
-Teresa of Avila

At First Church we understand that we truly are the body of Christ, and our outreach missions reflect our belief in showing kindness and compassion to all of God’s creation. There are countless ways to get involved in the outreach work of First Church — whether you want to serve hot meals to your neighbors or build houses for those who desperately need them, your hands are needed here! First Church Outreach is involved in helping people who struggle with food insecurity and homelessness, and we are particularly involved in working for equity and social justice. These are a few of the organizations that First Church members actively support:

Covenant to Care provides a chance to impact the lives of families and children at risk through First Church’s relationship with an area social worker. Throughout the year we collect food, clothing, furniture and household items from First Church members and friends. Whether it’s baskets at Easter, backpacks in September, food baskets at Thanksgiving, or warm clothing and gifts at Christmas, the generous and willing spirit of First Church reaches into the community, offering help or aid and striving to make a difference.

 

The Festival of Trees is a community event on the first Thursday evening of December at which the Outreach team raffles off decorated Christmas trees donated by local businesses, residents, and members and friends of First Church. A cadre of cookie-bakers donate hundreds of cookies for guests to nibble as they stroll among the festive trees. Director of Music Jim Boratko and the First Church Gallery Singers provide a holiday soundtrack for the event, which raises over $10,000 for area charities.

Food Baskets At each entry door to the building there are food baskets for donations to the West Hartford Food Pantry, which serves many needy families in West Hartford.

Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA) a broad-based social justice initiative piloted by the Center for Leadership and Justice. GHIAA is comprised of over 40 churches, synagogues, mosques, and meeting houses, creating a diverse organization of lay leaders and clergy from across bounds of race, class, gender identity, religion, and geography. GHIAA builds relational power in local communities to address social justice issues. GHIAA’s current campaigns are focused on the areas of Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Gun Violence, Healthcare, and Housing.

Hands-on Service Projects such as assembling meals for Harvest Pack; picking apples for local soup kitchens; making no-sew blankets; and collecting baby-care items for infants of refugee families.

Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen, provides warm meals and a safe place to eat for Hartford residents. Once a month First Church volunteers work with Loaves and Fishes staff to serve a hot meal. First Church members and friends also regularly donate grocery items for Loaves and Fishes’ “meals-to-go” program.