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LOCAL MISSIONS MONTHLY PARTNER | SEPTEMBER 2021

Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) is a local, grass-roots agency working to prevent and end homelessness. VMC was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to individuals experiencing homelessness and households struggling to sustain housing. VMC’s programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness. VMC provides services through: The Resource Center, The Bush Family Refuge, Minvilla Manor, Street Outreach, The VMC Dental Clinic, and The Foyer, Knoxville’s first low-barrier, housing focused emergency shelter, which opened in December 2019. The goal for all clients is housing. Utilizing case management and the ‘Housing First’ approach to ending homelessness, VMC assists individuals into permanent supportive housing and provides the coordination of resources necessary to sustain housing.

With over 9,000 individuals in Knoxville accessing homeless services every year, there are many who are at risk of dying on the streets without specialized services focused on both achieving and sustaining housing. Homelessness impacts all of us as there is both an economic and human cost to our community. A focus on housing reduces this economic and human cost and allows those experiencing homelessness the safety, stability, and security to heal and address the deeper issues that led to their homelessness. https://www.vmcinc.org/

How you can help this ministry: VMC needs regular sized twin sheets, blankets, and pillows for The Foyer where they serve approximately 40 people per night in their emergency shelter.  They can be “gently used” or new.  Please drop off your donations throughout the month of September in the bin marked for them in the office area. 

A Day in the Life of a Low-Income Single Mother –  Please join us on Sunday, September 12, when Daniel Watson, the co-founder and Executive director of The Restoration House, will  speak during the Sunday School hour in Room 317 in the Spitzer Building.  His presentation entitled “A Day in the Life”  will provide a look into the lives of low-income single-mothers and their families and how TRH and their community partners are helping these families fulfill the goals and dreams that they never thought possible.  He will also give the Moment for Missions at both services that day.     

Bring $5, bathing suit, and towel. All are welcome. More details to come!

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Other ministries we are actively involved with:

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FISH

FISH is a food ministry that is working with communities to end hunger.  FISH is part of Hospitality Pantries, Inc., a non-profit all volunteer organization that currently provides food packages to over 11,000 families each month and from its associate locations in Claiborne and Knox counties an additional 2,000 families receive food bags each month.  SHPC coordinates and delivers food monthly.  On the third Monday of each month, drivers travel to the West Knox Fish Pantry behind the Church of the Savior where they load the requisite bags and take them to Barron Hall. There they set up the tables and off load the bags.  Tuesday morning after the SHPC Fish phone center fills out request sheets from callers, members of the special needs team collect the specific extra products needed by each family, and they add these to that family’s order.  SHPC volunteers then arrive deliver groceries!

Additional service to SHPC’s hunger ministry: Once a year Sequoyah Church is responsible for buying food for the West Knox Food Pantry (a cooperative organization of 16 churches) which we use every month for our Fish deliveries. The tasks involved in stocking the pantry include: purchase the food from various vendors; deliver 10,000 pounds of food to the pantry; assemble each sack of food and place on shelves; clean the pantry; recycle cardboard; and maintain the pantry for the full month of March.

For more information about FISH visit: www.fishpantry.org.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that has helped to build or repair over 600,000 houses for more than 3 million people worldwide.  Their vision is “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”  Through volunteer labor and the donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates homes partnering with their homeowner families.  These families invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

SHPC sponsors a Habitat house every four years. Volunteers help on Saturday build days as well as provide lunch for the workers on build days.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity visit: www.Habitat.org.

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Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM)

KARM provides daily for those whom are most vulnerable and desperate among us.  They supply rescue services of food and shelter, they build healthy and supportive relationships, and ultimately strive for restoration, which includes job-training opportunities. They feel when rescue is combined with the support and encouragement provided by healthy relationships that reflect the heart of Jesus, then true restoration can occur…restoration to God, self, family, and community. KARM’s Thrift Stores provide employment, donation opportunities for individuals and churches, and offer gently used merchandise for sale throughout our area. Revenue from donated goods sold at the KARM Thrift Stores is used to support the services at KARM.

Twice a year, SHPC volunteers cook, set-up, and serve an evening meal to over 250 residential families and homeless in our community.

For more information about KARM visit: www.karm.org.

SHPC Mission Trips

SHPC Mission Trips are scheduled as needed.  A yearly medical mission trip occurs in February. Past trips have included day trips to outlying counties to install clean water systems, work trips to Mexico, and various trips in TN. through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) which is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  PDA enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic events.  The focus is on the long-term recovery of disaster impacted communities and provides training and disaster preparedness for presbyteries and synods.

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Pond Gap Elementary School

SHPC is in partnership with Pond Gap Elementary School. Various mission opportunities are available depending on the needs of the school and the students. Current and past opportunities include:

  • Providing food items for Second Harvest’s Backpacks for students program, backpacks are stuffed on Thursdays
  • Sponsoring/Tutoring of students (when needed)
  • Book Drive – organizing, wrapping the books, and distributing them to the children
  • Christmas Food Baskets
Thrive – Park Ridge

Thrive ministers to at-risk youth in the Lonsdale area to share the Gospel through relationships anchored in the love of Christ.  They do this through their three main programs: Thrive Afterschool, Thrive Summer, and Mentoring.

SHPC Youth ministry helps monthly in Thrive’s after-school program by helping prepare a warm cooked meal, serving that meal, helping students with homework after school, and cleaning up as we finish our time of serving. SHPC serves dinner the third Monday of each month.

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Rose’s Creek

Members and groups of SHPC adopt 30 families each year from Roses Creek, a Land Trust Community in Coalfield, TN.  Individuals, Bible Study groups, Sunday school classes or small group choose from a single adult, a small family or a large family with several children. Gifts are wrapped, tagged by individual and family, and delivered to the church by mid-December.  Volunteers with trucks or SUVs are also needed to deliver gifts to Roses Creek. Contact: info@sequoyahchurch.org.

Operation Backyard

Knoxville Leadership Foundation’s Operation Backyard is a year-round program that provides free home repair services for those with limited-income, those who are elderly, and those who are disabled. Operation Backyard utilizes volunteers to provide much-needed home repairs to families across the Knoxville area. SHPC Young Adults volunteer for a yearly project.

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Boy Scouts of America

Our congregation has supported scouting for about 40 years and continues to be the charter organization for Cub Scout Pack 39, which is part of the BSA. Various Scout troops also meet at SHPC.  For more information, visit their website at Pack39.net.