The Outreach Committee consists of volunteer members of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. It was formed in 2012 to provide organized large-scale opportunities for our congregation to participate in activities that serve the community.
Among the major activities the Outreach Committee currently sponsors are:
- S.T.A.I.R. (Start the Adventure in Reading) Tutoring Program;
- Reading Program at Ella Dolhonde Elementary School to kindergarten and 1st grade students;
- the Pumpkin Patch;
- the Parish Picnic;
- the new Little Free Library (outside the Chapel);
- book collection and a mailing session for Louisiana’s Books-2-Prisoners;
- quarterly food drives and work days for Second Harvest Food Bank;
- the Angel Tree Ministry in which parishioners purchase presents for prisoners to give their children;
- warm clothing collections for folks who need, but cannot afford, winter clothing;
- service credits for students doing outreach activities; and
- the St. Patrick’s Day Parade party.
Future projects include:
- visits and meal delivery to the elderly who live alone via the Council on Aging;
- baby showers for first-time mothers at University Hospital; and
- providing school supplies for under-privileged children.
Some of these sponsored activities are new to St. Martin’s Church. Specifically, S.T.A.I.R. was began in 2013 in an effort to expand our outreach to students at Ella Dolhonde Elementary School. The S.T.A.I.R. Program targets second grade students with the goal of increasing their reading proficiency, as well as their self-esteem and confidence. Last year, volunteers tutored three students twice a week at our church. Because $5000 is needed to cover the costs of the program, the Outreach Committee has arranged for proceeds of the raffle at the Parish Picnic to be donated to the S.T.A.I.R. program.
Our involvement with Louisiana’s Books-2-Prisoners is also recent. Books-2-Prisoners is a nonprofit effort to correspond with inmates and mail them free books. The organization’s goal is to encourage literacy, make prison life more endurable, and support the interests of prisoners. It serves Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. St. Martin’s involvement includes sporadic delivery of books donated by parishioners and a mailing session at the Church where we ask for volunteers from the congregation to help wrap bundled books for mailing, according to prison specifications.