Feed the Hungry, Quench the Thirst, Welcome the Least
… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35
We work in partnerships locally and globally to meet the immediate needs of those among “the least of these”. Jesus implores us to ask “How do we find the courage to get up in the morning, knowing that every pair of eyes that pleads with us that day will be his eyes, asking us for something to eat or drink or wear, asking us for recognition, for time, for attention?” (from“Knowing Glances”, by Barbara Brown Taylor).
The walk-in ministry of hospitality at First Presbyterian Church offers encouragement, counseling, referrals, limited financial assistance and prayer to persons who are marginalized by emotional and/or financial instability. Volunteers from the church serve on scheduled days and welcome those coming to the door seeking help. They offer “blessing bags” of healthy snacks or toiletries as an opening toward future encounters. If desired, prayer is often given and for those who have no church home, an invitation is extended to visit 1st Presbyterian some Sunday.
Presbyterian Church (USA) Hunger Program
Each Easter, we participate in the Presbyterian Church One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) special
offering, with one-third of that offering set aside for hunger. A portion of that offering stays in the Presbytery of New Hope for eastern North Carolina hunger-related programs, and a portion is applied to the PCUSA Presbyterian Hunger Program. The PHP is a ministry of the PC(USA) working with congregations and partners around the globe to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes. Domestically, we support food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and other direct service programs. Worldwide, we support direct aid, local agriculture, nutrition education, and programs which generate income for families who suffer from persistent hunger.
Hunger for Change
The Presbytery of New Hope Hunger Fund is a program funded by special offerings received from congregations throughout the Presbytery. Formerly called “Pennies for Hunger”, FPC Durham uses the description “Hunger for Change”. During each end-of-month worship service, individual members of the congregation walk forward to place their offerings in a basket on the chancel steps. Presbytery-wide, there are approximately $75,000 to $80,000 per year in contributions that are distributed for local and international hunger needs. The Presbytery’s Ministries of Mission Committee determines which hunger programs will be funded based upon grant requests received on behalf of various hunger-related agencies and groups. The distribution of hunger funds to local and international groups is as follows: 50% for international projects, 40% for domestic projects, and 10% for hunger education.
Meals on Wheels
For over 40 years, Meals on Wheels (MOW) of Durham has delivered nutritional meals to homebound adults. The combination of food delivery and social contact helps individuals remain independent in their home environment as long as possible. First Presbyterian Church provides financial support as well as volunteers who drive delivery routes. The Church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry has also knit scarves and hats for participants. The resilience of individuals served is a blessing for those who volunteer.
Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD)
UMD, located a block from the church, offers emergency shelter and case management for more than 6,000 people each year. It operates a Community Shelter for men, women, and families; a community café that provides 3 meals a day, 7 days a week; and a Food Pantry and Clothing Closet. A variety of volunteer opportunities are available. 1st Presbyterian members volunteer regularly to serve breakfast and prepare lunch bags.