As I’m typing this, it’s actually the middle of December. Your Mission Committee spent a large part of the last meeting of the calendar year talking about where to send the funds remaining in our budget. The annual report (which will be available at the congregational meeting) will have a complete picture of our fiscal year, but I’d like to give you a thumbnail of who received donations in December. Local mission recipients included the Omaha Seminary Foundation, Covenant Network, Crossroads Prison Ministry and the folks who drive the bus for Crossroads, ACE Puppets, and immigrant families with children in Margo Forsythe’s classes. World mission recipients were Aqua Africa, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Project Homecoming and Los Chavalitos.
Speaking of disbursing funds, the Garden Mart has also disbursed its proceeds to hunger-fighting agencies. The bulk of those dollars was sent to the Heartland of America Food Bank. Smaller amounts went to other local agencies.
If you read “Monday Morning in the Presbytery” you may have seen the announcement for a Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Israel/Palestine. Congratulations to Sandie Hanna, who applied and has been selected to attend. What a fabulous opportunity! The Mission Committee was able to offer Sandie some monetary support to offset the cost of the conference. We look forward to hosting a gathering after Sandie returns to learn of her adventure.
We’ve decided to maintain the same formula for 2014; selecting both a Mission and a Hunger Partner for each month. Sometimes one agency will be both and that’s the case for January. Siena/Francis House has been chosen. Many of you know Siena/Francis because PCM helps to serve a meal on the second Monday of each month. Others may know it because we often have items on the Giving Tree that have been requested by that organization. Still others may have participated in a Round Town Mission trip that included Siena/Francis. The need for services continues to increase. The past few years have seen near-record numbers of persons falling into homelessness. This was the case in 2012, as the Siena/Francis House served 421,351 meals and provided 164,032 nights of shelter to 3,713 homeless men, women and children who showed up at our door. This means that, on average in 2012, the Siena/Francis House served more than 1,151 meals each day, and provided a bed, mattress or chair in their overflow shelter areas, to over 448 persons each night. In addition, the Siena/Francis House's Day Services Center helped 367 homeless families and individuals achieve stable housing outside of their shelter in 2012. The Siena/Francis House continues to provide more meals and more nights of shelter to homeless men, women & children than the other Omaha shelters, combined. As winter is upon us, we encourage you to consider a donation to this partner.