Grace Memorial offers many opportunities to minister to individuals in our local community. Spearheaded by different organizations, here are some of the different projects Grace Memorial members undertake throughout the year:
During the season of Lent (the four weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday), Grace Memorial collects donations and supplies for Grace Baskets. A Grace Basket is a regular plastic laundry basket filled with a specific set of cleaning supplies, including sponges, dishwashing detergent, steel wool pads, and more. The filled baskets are given to the Renew Family Resource Center to distribute to client families in order to address a basic and vital need.
Most of the selected families will be those living in dire poverty who are in danger of having their children removed by the courts because of neglect. An essential component of any remedial plan for such a family is always a major cleaning of the house. However, the needed supplies are relatively expensive, especially in a time of financial crisis. The Grace Baskets are a powerful gift of hope for these struggling families, providing them with the tools they need so they can do what needs to be done for their children.
Grace Memorial members cook and transport meals to Richard Murphy Hospice once a week. These meals feed the hospice’s clients and their extended families. Those interested in volunteering for this outreach can sign up at any St. Margaret’s Guild meeting.
Lunch With Grace
Each month, the St. Margaret’s Guild offers Lunch With Grace, a themed hot lunch fundraiser open to church members and members of the community. Anyone can preorder a hot lunch, either eating in or picking it up from the Parish Hall on the designated day. All funds raised go to St. Margaret’s Guild inreach and outreach projects, including group foster home Nora’s House, homeless shelter House of Serenity, the Tangi Food Pantry, and more.
Grace Memorial offers many opportunities to help international students from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Students need transportation to and from the New Orleans Airport at the beginning and end of each school year. Often students arrive before their meal plans become active, so Grace Memorial stocks nonperishable food items made available to them upon their arrival. Unfurnished apartments are a challenge facing some international students, so donations of used furniture are also appreciated. Grace Memorial occasionally hosts potluck events during the school year to get to know these brave interesting individuals pursuing an education far from home.
An outreach project adopted by the St. Margaret’s Guild, Nora’s House is a group home for foster children located in Ponchatoula. Members of the guild provide the six to ten girls housed there with gifts on birthdays and holidays as well as school supplies and other needs.
In October, the front lawn of Grace Memorial is dominated by pumpkins of all shapes, colors, and sizes, signaling that the church’s annual pumpkin patch is open for business. The pumpkin patch was established in 1997 as a way to raise money for Grace Memorial’s youth programs. In 2003, church members decided to use the money earned from the pumpkin patch as a community outreach project instead.
The pumpkin patch is a fundraiser and community match for government-contracted program the Renew Family Resource Center. Renew helps at-risk, neglected or abused children by assessing each situation where there has been an allegation and help resolve the situation without destroying the family unit. In addition to donating the pumpkin patch’s earnings, each hour of a pumpkin patch volunteer’s time is valued at a dollar, which the state then matches with three dollars specifically for the program. Members of Grace Memorial are welcome to help set up the pumpkin patch when the pumpkins arrive in early October and sell pumpkins throughout the month.
Tangi Food Pantry
The Tangi Food Pantry is a local volunteer-run non-profit organization that provides free groceries to over 40,000 members of the community every year who are in desperate need of food assistance. Grace Memorial members volunteer the second Thursday of each month from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the food pantry checking in individuals, bagging groceries, and more. New volunteers are always welcome.
Interested in outreach at Grace Memorial? Please contact the church office at (985) 345-2764 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.