Making an Impact in Baytown
St. Mark’s focuses on five areas in mission in Baytown. These five areas are helping to fill a local food pantry, providing necessities for local non-profit agencies, getting involved in our local schools, helping the community with service projects, and providing monthly opportunities for giving to help “Change the World.”
To help a local food pantry the first Sunday of each month is a day in which we participate in “Sharing Bread.” Members of the congregation bring food items to stock the pantry shelves. This is tied to communion Sunday as a time not only to receive, but also to give. The food is taken monthly to a neighboring church that has a community food pantry.
In addition to donations of food, members of the congregation donate other items that are given monthly to agencies in Baytown and Houston. Donations include soft drink tabs, which are given to the Ronald McDonald House, coupons, which are donated to military families, travel toiletry items, which are given to Bay Area Homeless Services, and baby food, which is given to the Pregnancy Resource Center.
In order to support education in our community, we have chosen to support Ross S. Sterling High School. The high school is the largest school in our school district, and it is very close to our church. In the spring, we started a shared community garden with the Life Skills classes at the school. Members of our church built the garden, and the students in the life skills class do the planting, maintenance, and cultivating. In the summer, church members maintained and cultivated the garden. Produce from the garden is donated to a local food pantry. In addition St. Mark’s donated snacks for the teachers in the fall, and members of our church redecorated the teacher’s lounge in the vocational building. In November, our church will participate in the Thanksgiving Food Drive at the school.
To serve in the community, our church leads two “Days of Caring.” The first was held in May during the “Change the World” weekend sponsored by the United Methodist Church. On this Saturday approximately 50 members of the congregation completed 14 home repair jobs for people in the community. The second day was in October, and we invited other local churches to join us. Approximately 100 people gathered for breakfast and a devotional and then they completed 26 jobs in the community. In addition goodie baskets were made for and delivered to first responders, and visits were made to nursing homes.
Throughout the year members of the congregation have generously participated in “Change the World.” Each month a group or cause is chosen, and we ask members of the congregation to donate their change to support this group. During some months we also collected additional items. We have also collected backpacks and school supplies for the YMCA Operation Backpack, diapers and wipes for Love, INC, treats for the animals at A New Dawn Animal Shelter, and coats for a local coat drive. We will collect food and gift cards for Thanksgiving food baskets to be given to residents in the community in November and in December we will provide a Christmas gift to every child enrolled at the Church Women United Child Care Center.