The Social Action Committee is involved in a number of initiatives for community outreach, education and social justice. The Committee encourages and enables members of the congregation to reach out to the larger community of Grand Rapids, the Country, the World. Congregational participation is needed and welcomed. We are looking forward to working with "Beyond Sunday" to increase this participation. Ideas for new projects are also welcomed, especially from those who want to work on those projects themselves. It has been accepted SAC policy that positions on any issue are not made in the name of Fountain Street Church as a whole, but by sponsoring groups within the church, with which congregants can choose to be involved.
Following is a list of organizations to which we contributed this year. Many volunteers also contributed their time to these organizations along with the SAC contact persons.
RISES (Running In Solidarity with El Salvadorans)
ANSWER (American-Nepal Student & Women's Educational Relief)
ACCESS of West Michigan
Throughout the year we are also involved in participatory projects such as the Hunger Walk, Holiday Food Baskets, AIDS Walk, and The Citywide Food Drive. SAC and congregation volunteers participated in a fix-up project at Heartside Ministries. We co-sponsored, with other organizations, several events held in the Social Hall.
FSC has joined Family Promise by becoming a support partner to one of the founding Churches of the Grand Rapids Chapter of Family Promise - one our downtown neighbors - First United Methodist Church, (FUMC).
What is Family Promise? Family Process is one of only two agencies in Grand Rapids that allow homeless families to remain together while in shelter. In the evenings during week-long rotations, Houses of Worship provide interim housing by converting some of their classrooms into bedrooms, thereby allowing members of each family "together time" at the end of the day. Each family has the privacy of an entire classroom. Week after week, volunteers do it all - fix and serve evening meals, followed by clean-up, facilitate family activities in the evenings, provide child care, serve as tutors and mentors, sleep over, "take down" classrooms each Sunday morning, and move cots and all family belongings to the next House of Worship on the rotation list.
What is a Support Partner? When FUMC hosts a rotation of families for a week, typically 3-4 times/year, FSC provides volunteers to cook and serve dinner, clean up, engage in activities with the children in the evening, and stay the night, (along with a FUMC volunteer), on Tuesday and Thursday during that rotation week. FUMC supplies the building and FSC provides assistance, (i.e. food, warm bodies, caring hearts, and open minds).
How to help? We would like to see more FSC'ers join our support crew as we help homeless families get a foothold back into mainstream society. You are truly "Changing the World" by participating in Family Promise. Can you prepare a salad or dessert or read stories to school children several evenings per year? Then you can be a part of our Family Promise crew!
FSC can be proud that over many years it has helped provide food for hungry families. By bringing in cans and boxes of food, as well as cash donations on the 1st Sunday of every month, we supply food for the ACCESS Pantry Network. Actual food collected goes to the Bethel Pentecostal Church Pantry, and cash and checks go to ACCESS to support the whole program. But what's the best way to help.....with food or money? Feeding America West Michigan, (formerly Second Harvest Gleaners), gathers excess, surplus, leftover, and discontinued food, and distributes it to food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and special programs like our Christmas Basket Drive. They sell the food to the programs at a very low cost to cover their administrative expenses. For instance, at FSC a donor can give a $10 check to ACCESS, and this can be leveraged to buy $200 worth of food from Feeding America. Your contribution will go farther, and you can more easily take a tax deduction for it. On the other hand, they are often missing such foods as canned fruit, soup, canned meats, cereal, and pasta. If you, or your children, want to bring in cans or boxes of food, the pantry will especially welcome these items. We understand that bringing the food is a tangible way to help. So please contribute each month in the way you like, money or food items, and a BIG thank you from all who benefit!