Grace is involved in community outreach in many different ways. Below are some descriptions of our most active ministries.
Community Soup Kitchen
The Community Soup Kitchen ministry serves a midday meal on the third Tuesday in the months of February, April,
June, August, October and December at The Church of the Redeemer in Morristown. The volunteers from Grace
serve 150 - 250 guests a nutritious meal of soup, chicken, rice, vegetables, salads, fruits, breads, desserts
and beverages. Starting at 10:30 am, we prepare and cook our donated foods, set up for
the meal, serve the meal and finish with the clean-up around 1:30 pm. Food and monetary donations are always
needed as well as twelve to fifteen volunteers to help in the kitchen and serve the food. Volunteers must be
at least 12 years old. To volunteer, check the sign-up sheet which is posted three weeks before our CSK date
or contact Margie Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food for Friends – Food Pantry Donations
Food for Friends is the food ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, gathering non-perishable food at churches all over the diocese and distributing it to those in need. Food gathered at Grace Church is distributed through our assigned partner in this project, Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover. This is a fine example of close cooperation between Episcopal and Lutheran churches working on a common goal. Although Trinity is a small church, it runs an extensive food ministry, with a daily soup kitchen, meals on wheels for the homebound, and a food pantry, all conducted by volunteers under the direction of a professional manager on the church staff. It is because of this big food ministry that this ELCA Lutheran church was designated as the beneficiary of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark Food for Friends program.
Grace parishioner Betty Innemee organized a campaign to raise the parishioners’ consciousness of this program by publicizing, in print and online, an “item of the week,” and donations have increased substantially. Several Grace Church families make periodic trips to Costco to purchase large donations to the Food for Friends program, and they understand that the most useful items are things like canned chicken and beef, chili, corned beef hash, ravioli, “chunky” soups, spaghetti, stew, pork and beans, tuna. These major donors make a tremendous impact on the poor families in Dover. And some people who lack the time or the physical strength to buy and transport food donate money for the purchase of needed items. This makes it possible to take advantage of bulk-food discounts.
Interfaith Council for Homeless Families (ICHF)
Grace Church is a participating parish in the Interfaith Council for Homeless Families of Morris County (ICHF). ICHF provides food, shelter, and assistance to families and single women. Most of the families enter the program because of unemployment, under-employment, medical bills, increases in the cost of their housing, loss of work or because they can no longer stay with relatives. The families rotate among the sponsoring congregations on a weekly basis.
Volunteers participate by preparing dinner and sharing it with them, providing some evening time fellowship, staying overnight, helping the guests with breakfast and sending them off for the day. Local businesses also provide in-kind donations of food and services, such as haircuts. Guests without their own transportation are picked up at 6:45 am and taken to ICHF headquarters in Morristown. School age children are bused to the schools they had been attending before admission to the program. Adults are taken to their jobs, or are given the use of an office and telephones to pursue job opportunities. The Center also provides day care for young children, a full range of counseling, as needed, and required financial and parenting classes.
The Recycling Ministry
The Recycling Ministry of Grace Church and St. John's Church, Dover, gathers furniture and other household
items from donors, and delivers them to people who are moving from group housing into apartments. The clients
are referred by 50 private and government agencies, representing battered women's shelters, drug rehabilitation
programs, homeless shelters, AIDS/HIV homes, alcohol treatment centers, and community mental health programs
in northern New Jersey.
This ministry grew out of a similar activity at Holy Innocents Church in West Orange over a period of many
years, and became a full-time, five days a week ministry of Grace Church in 2004. It is conducted by a core
group of eight volunteers, most of whom are Grace Church members. A similar number of volunteers assist on
an occasional basis. The Recycling Ministry works in collaboration with similar projects in this area,
including Furniture Assist and Interfaith Furnishings.
The current economic crisis has greatly increased the ministry’s work load. During 2009 the volunteers did
a total of 918 jobs, an increase of about 50% over the 624 done in 2008, or about 3.5 assignments per day,
five days a week, throughout the year. Kit Cone’s truck, Bruno, traveled 8,026 miles, mostly within Morris
County, on Recycling Ministry assignments. Bruno, an open truck, can be supplemented by rented box trucks,
financed by a grant from the ACTS/VIM Board of the Diocese of Newark, making it possible to keep on schedule
on rainy or snowy days.
The services of the Recycling Ministry are also used in support of other Grace Church activities. The
ministry is the largest single contributor to the annual Grace Church Rummage Sale, and then distributes
items remaining after that sale and also the autumn Clothing Sale. The Recycling Ministry is also an active
participant in the annual Christmas Angel project, giving Christmas gifts to client families for their
children. Several times each month the Recycling Ministry delivers Grace Church's "Food for Friends"
donations to the designated recipient, the food pantry at Trinity Church in Dover.
Volunteers are always welcome, as are financial donations, which are used for the purchase of pillows,
mattress covers, and other essential items for the clients. Information is available from Nancy Willis
at 973 610 2325.