Pictured: Rummage sale raising money for the Seccombe Outreach Fund.
A potion of parishioners’ pledges goes to the Episcopal Diocese of California, which supports Episcopal Charities and other regional initiatives. The Community Service Committee helps the parish raise money more directly for organizations with local, domestic and international impact.
eScrip, semiannual rummage sales, Fourth of July and St. Nicholas coffee hour sales and direct donations provide the bulk of our Seccombe Outreach Fund, which was named in honor of longtime parishioners and community service volunteers Roger and Jean Seccombe.
At the end of each year, the Fund makes grants to local charities supported by parishioners’ time and talent, as well as treasure (including in-kind donations), that address the concerns of Matthew 25:36: “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” In recent years these have included:
- Ecumenical Hunger Program, serving the needy of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park with food, clothing, home furnishings, vocational training, after-school programs and other help. The Community Service Committee raises additional funds in December for EHP’s Family Sharing program, which provides Christmas gifts and grocery store cards to families in greatest need.
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco, builder and renovator of affordable housing in Marin, San Francisco, and the Peninsula.
- Home & Hope, an interfaith and community-supported transitional shelter program for homeless families in San Mateo County.
- InnVision Shelter Network, a major provider of short-term and transitional housing and assistance for needy individuals and families on the mid-Peninsula.
- Los Ayudantes, an independent nonprofit incubated at St. Bede’s that helps at-risk elementary and middle school students from Spanish-speaking households improve English skills and cultural literacy.
- Service League of San Mateo County, provider of in-custody and after-release services to inmates of the San Mateo County jails and their families, including humanitarian, educational, substance abuse recovery, spiritual and personal growth programs.
- Episcopal Chaplaincy at Stanford Hospital, spiritual care for Episcopal patients, families and staff at Stanford Hospital and Medical Center.
National & International Impact
Advent, Lenten, and emergency-response fundraising campaigns — such as coin drives, alternative giving, greeting card and rummage sales — support international programs inspired by the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and relief efforts. In recent years these have included:
- Episcopal Relief and Development, which coordinates with local agencies for emergency relief, such as after the Christchurch earthquake and the Northern Japan tsunami.
- Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, which provides life-saving services to people affected by AIDS and HIV in rural Malawi. We raise money in Advent specifically for its nursing scholarships, which ultimately improve the lives of many people.
- Nets for Life, a private-public partnership focused on malaria prevention in Africa.
- Project Hope (Pwoje Espwa), which serves abandoned children in Haiti with orphanages, K-12 education, vocational schools, food and medical programs, and promotes sustainable agriculture and reforestation.
- Tree of Life Ministry, a multicultural, cross-denominational relief agency on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota.
In addition to fundraising for the Seccombe Outreach Fund, we remember the poor and destitute year-round by asking for donations of healthy canned and dry food and new or gently used clothing, shoes, and household linens, which may be left in marked baskets in the church narthex (entrance). We encourage donors to give what recipients need most, according to our partner agencies. This includes:
- Nutritious, easily prepared food for children who rely heavily on school meal programs and so are at risk of hunger on evenings, weekends and holiday periods. Shopping lists are available in the narthex for the Pack the Back program, run by Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP) in East Palo Alto.
- Similar food for adults and families; shopping lists are available in the narthex. Items may be taken to the Urban Ministry Downtown Food Closet in Palo Alto, part of InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN); to one of IVSN’s individual or family shelters; or EHP. In January we hold the Souper Bowl, asking for donations of canned hearty soups and stews with pop-top lids.
- Seasonal items such as school supplies (mid-July through August), delivered to EHP; cold-weather outerwear and raingear (November-December), delivered to EHP and IVSN; Christmas gifts for children and adults (December), delivered to EHP for its Family Sharing program and the Service League, for children of San Mateo County jail inmates who would otherwise not be able to give their child a present; and homemade Christmas cookies for jail inmates and guards, delivered by the Service League on Christmas Day.
- New or gently used clothing and household linens for children and adults, delivered to EHP and IVSN. (Note: Unusable items may be taken to Goodwill, discarded or reserved for a rummage sale; worn linens may be taken to the Palo Alto Humane Society.)
- Mini toiletries and hygiene items, delivered to IVSN’s drop-in Opportunity Services Center in Palo Alto.
- New greeting cards, which the Service League provides to inmates to keep in touch with loved ones. (Matching envelopes required; postcards, stickers and calendars are not accepted under terms of the program.)