Sharing God’s Love with the World

St. Thomas has a rich history of mission and outreach, coupled with a tradition of seeking opportunities for members of all ages to help others in need. In order to realize the mission potential of our parish, we strive to provide opportunities for both monetary and hands-on help at levels both large and small, with a balanced local, diocesan, national, and world focus.  We recognize the importance of helping and serving others; when we reach out in service and love to others we strengthen our relationship to God. 

 

Thanksgiving Bags for Second Story

Once again in 2021, St. Thomas is gathering the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal for the clients of Second Story. Shopping bags to fill, as well as the shopping list are available in the Narthex/Lobby. You can also find it in the November Messenger. Bags must be returned to St. Thomas by Wednesday November 17, 2021 so that we can deliver them to Second Story on November 18. If you prefer, you can donate the cost of a full bag or a half bag here and we will shop for you.

 

 
Some of our other Mission Projects include:

 

Personal Care and Mother’s Day Bags

We provided personal care items in the winter and diapers, pull ups, and clothing items for care of young children at Mother’s Day, for Second Story’s “Young Mothers in the Community” program.

 

Groceries for SHARE and the Share Shuttle

Each week parishioners bring groceries for the SHARE of McLean food pantry, located at the McLean Baptist Church. During the height of the COVID pandemic, a high school student ran a monthly “Share Shuttle” collecting donations from parishioners at home and bringing them directly to SHARE.

 

Backpacks for SHARE or Second Story

Each summer, St. Thomas collects backpacks and school supplies, which are donated to either Share of McLean or to Second Story for the Second Story in the community program.

 

SHARE Reverse Advent Calendar

All during December, parishioners gathered foodstuffs and toiletries to help restock SHARE’s shelves. Families found this a particularly meaningful activity and in early January, we were able to bring more than 40 bags of the requested items to SHARE.

 

St. Thomas Pumpkin Patch

Every October, St. Thomas hosts a large, beautiful pumpkin patch on the grounds of the church, where people from Northern Virginia can come and purchase pumpkins for Halloween. All profits from the pumpkin patch are donated to local charities. It is an activity supported by all of St. Thomas, and customers come back year after year to support the patch.

 

Since the first St. Thomas’ pumpkin patch in 2008, we have raised over $50,000 which we then donated to local charities. Our pumpkins are grown and harvested on Navajo reservations in Northern New Mexico. Pumpkins that are not sold are donated to Rikki’s Refuge in Orange County, VA. Rikki’s Refuge is a 450 acre, no-kill, all species sanctuary and the pumpkins provide food for many of the animals who live at the sanctuary.

 

The proceeds from the Pumpkin Patch support these local non-profits. We work with many of them in other ways, as well. Read on to find out more.

 

Second Story (formerly Alternative House)

www.second-story.org

 

Founded in 1972 as Alternative House, Second Story, located near Tysons Corner, provides an emergency shelter for abused and and homeless teens. The program has expanded its reach by assisting young mothers (providing housing and encouragement to continue their education and raise healthy children), helping children with after-school programs and tutoring (Culmore Teen Center, Culmore Safe Youth Project), and other programs targeting low-income families and youth and their daily challenges.

 

In addition to ongoing financial support for Second Story, St. Thomas helps in other ways. On the fourth Sunday of each month, a family or small group from our parish prepare and have dinner with residents at Second Story. This ministry offers a great opportunity for fellowship with teens who are struggling with difficult circumstances. And, Second Story receives the bags of food we collect at Thanksgiving.  

 

If you are interested in participating in this ministry, please email the Church Office.

 

 

SHARE of McLean

www.shareofmclean.org 

 

SHARE of McLean is a non-profit community organization run by all volunteer workers. SHARE provides a food bank stocked by food drives at local grocery stores and donations from individuals, churches, and organizations. The food is distributed to clients from the food room at the McLean Baptist Church on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. In addition, they provides a clothing room where clients can choose donated clothing for the whole family. SHARE also delivers donations of furniture and household goods to families that have just come to this country or who have just moved into a home or apartment and need furniture.

 

In addition to ongoing financial support for SHARE, St. Thomas assists with their programs in a variety of ways. Parishioners donate food and household supplies throughout the year. During the summer, our SHARE vegetable garden plot provides fresh produce families and individuals using the SHARE pantry.  Families and individuals take responsibility for a week — watering, weeding, and harvesting. Then, in August, we gather school supplies for students returning to school. In November, parishioners can choose a name from our Christmas Angel Tree, and  buy a gift or gift card for that individual.

 

This is a wonderful organization that helps many low-income working people in our community.  If you are interested in supporting this group, you can check out their website at Share of McLean.  Donations and volunteers are always welcome.

 

If you are interested in participating in this ministry, please email the Church Office.   

 

 

Falls Church / McLean Children’s Center 

http://www.fcmlcc.org/ 

 

In 1968, volunteers from over 20 faith groups (including St. Thomas) founded Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center to respond to a need for affordable child care.  In 2003, the Center moved from the basement of a church to its current location: a dedicated wing of Lemon Road Elementary School.  Today the Center provides a comprehensive, high-quality, early-childhood program designed to give all young children, regardless of their family’s economic resources, a strong foundation on which to build the rest of their lives. 

 

The Center has families from all over the world, children with and without special needs, coming from all economic backgrounds.  This diversity is one of the Center’s greatest strengths, setting it apart from other preschool programs in the area.  The students, families, and staff learn from one another every day, and grow to respect and appreciate their differences.

 

St Thomas supports the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center through donations of money and supplies throughout the year.  Additionally, we are a Rainbow Level sponsor of their annual Teddy Bear 5K run in late September. The Center welcomes volunteers on a one-time or a recurring basis.  Opportunities to help include being another pair of hands in classrooms, helping with fundraising, or with keeping the school looking great.  To arrange a volunteer visit, call the Center at 703-534-4907. 

 

 

FACETS

www.facetscares.org

 

FACETS is supported by state and county funding, as well as many businesses, civic organizations, and faith communities. Its focus is on reducing the dire effects of homelessness and poverty in Fairfax County.

 

In addition to providing financial support to FACETS, St. Thomas has participated in one specific program, the Hypothermia Prevention Program. It provides shelter for homeless men and women during the coldest months, December through March. St. Thomas parishioners have cooked and served a meal during the week (usually Christmas week) when one of our partner parishes in the North Fairfax Region hosts homeless individuals for overnight shelter. 

 

 

 

Previous Outreach Partners / Projects

St. Thomas has been active in mission and outreach since its founding in 1961. We’ve supported other mission projects in the past, including:

  • Aid All Syria/The Free Syria Foundation 
  • VOICE
  • McLean Islamic Center partnership
  • North Fairfax Region, Regional Life Committee (Human Trafficking, Race & Reconciliation)
  • Gleaning
  • Tysons Interfaith ESL Program

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