Members of South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church will reach out to help at least 10 charities in Mecklenburg and Union counties during the congregation’s Community Outreach Day on Nov. 3.

South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church, at 8601 Bryant Farms Road, has about 1,100 members, a number that has grown significantly since construction of the new sanctuary was completed in 2009.

“We have ongoing and special projects throughout the year, but Community Outreach Day is a chance for folks to go and do something with a no-strings-attached deal,” said community outreach chairwoman Elizabeth Lankford. “Hopefully they will think, ‘This is a good fit for me,’ and continue helping throughout the year. Otherwise, they will have a one-time, really good experience helping people.”

Last year, 139 people gave their time, with more than 358 hours contributed that day. This year, the goal is to have 200 people reach out to the community.

Lankford said there are both on- and off-site opportunities for people of all ages to help. Projects that day will include:

• Painting the front lobby and TV room of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte;
• Filling 500 children’s Christmas stockings for the Salvation Army (onsite at SMPC);
• Stocking food at Loaves & Fishes;
• Preparing 100 sandwiches in SMPC’s kitchen for the Urban Ministry center;
• Decorating and filling snack bags for A Child’s Place;
• Performing repair work on two trailers used in disaster-relief efforts;
• Filling empty prescription bottles (labels removed) with body wash and liquid laundry detergent for the Homeless at Urban Ministry Center;
• Donating blood at the American Red Cross;
• Preparing and providing lunch at Samaritan House, and raking leaves;
• Hosting a children’s activity day and preparing a spaghetti dinner at the Center of Hope.

For months, SMPC has been collecting donations for the various organizations, kicking off with a “Christmas in July.” Christmas toys have been collected for the 500 Salvation Army children’s stockings.

“Stuffing the stockings was a popular activity last year,” Lankford said. “Many families with children contributed to the effort.”

SMPC’s Community Outreach Committee was restructured about five years ago. The four focus areas are adults, children, hunger and construction, with a different person heading each.

Information about the church’s ongoing mission project in Haiti also will be available that day. SMPC has a longstanding relationship with a school in Haiti, and among other things, members can go on mission trips, sponsor a child for $420 a year or donate children’s chewable vitamins.

“This year we want to open up Community Outreach Day to everyone,” Lankford said. “Anyone is welcome to volunteer that day.”

From South Charlotte News, Oct. 26, 2012


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