The following was written by Joannie Bogus of St. Gregory's Episcopal Church expressing her thoughts about improvements desired to assist the program at Holy Redeemer Episcopal Church.
The rector of the church of the Holy Redeemer is Cristina Encinosa, currently the youngest priest in our diocese. The parish hall acts as a food distribution center, 'palanca pantry' as well as a dining hall, and worship space.
The pantry provides staple goods to up to 400 people, mostly homeless or working poor, each week. They also provide a fresh lunch on certain weekdays. Each friday, a hot meal is prepared and served by various churches within the diocese.
This mission church was brought to my attention as the youth ministries leader as a mission project for youth group. Due to scheduling and location, the young people were not able to be consistently responsible for the monthly dinner. With the help of Betty McGeehee as summer chairperson, and Lorna and Don Kiley as winter chairpersons, we are able to commit to serving dinner and providing bag lunches on the fourth Friday of each month. We have received vestry approval to support this outreach mission indefinitely, however, we are hoping that it will be self supporting through donations of cash and supplies.
The dinner: we plan to serve between 100-200 people with a well balanced, freshly prepared meal. Some of the meals we have served are shepherds pie, ham and macaroni &cheese, cold ham dinner with salads and baked beans, ham and bean dinner. This is prepared at our St. Gregory kitchen and carried to Lake Worth. The number of volunteers varies between 6-10, in addition to whichever youth group members are available. Time commitment is from 12-2 pm to prepare the meal, then 3:30-6:30 to serve and clean up at Holy Redeemer. We also prepare up to 100 bag lunches which contain non-perishables such as peanut butter sandwiches, snacks, juice box. Any leftover from the dinner is served during the week as 'to-go' meals, as needed. We also provide fresh fruit, cold drinks, and to go meals for anyone who asks for them. Breads and desserts are donated through local outlets.
In addition to kitchen volunteers, we are able to involve many members of the parish in other ways. Food is prepared at home, and delivered to the kitchen.
We have a specific shopping list for those who prefer to pick up needed supplies. We also accept and appreciate cash, and we put the soup pot out for this purpose weekly. The chairpersons have the task of designing the menu, scheduling volunteers, preparing the shopping lists and canvassing the parish for donations.
There is other work that needs to be done at Holy Redeemer, and planning has begun toward this end. I will be seeking volunteers to strip the concrete floors, paint and repair the walls, and install shelving in the pantry. Funding is in place for this, it just needs to be scheduled and set up. I welcome and encourage any and all people knowledgeable in these areas to contact me.
Directions: north on I-95, west on 6th Avenue South in Lake Worth, north on Congress, west on Lake Worth Road, north 1/8 mile on Kirk Road, then look east to see Holy Redeemer Episcopal Church at 3730 Kirk Road.