St. Patrick’s parish has a long tradition and passion for service, particularly through the Faith In Action Committee, CHOW Pantry, bagged lunch distribution and the once monthly Trinity dinners. St. Thomas Aquinas parish groups have provided outreach and support to the local community and abroad through the efforts of the Holy Name Society, the Parish Life Committee and their Altar and Rosary Society.
Recently, St. Patrick’s & St. Thomas Aquinas, as linked parishes, leading up to 2016, having contemplated Pope Francis’s challenge for the Year of Mercy, committed to serving needs of the less fortunate, initiated Outreach Ministries of the Southern Tier and the Showers of Hope. An effort which began by offering hot soup and hot cocoa during cold months on Main Street, Binghamton every Monday. Volunteers began to make connections with folks on the street. From there a shower trailer was purchased to begin offering hot showers to the homeless and persons in need on St. Patrick’s Campus on Thursday’s. The hot soup was now being served at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall in conjunction with the Showers of Hope twice a week, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Eventually the sandwich ministry expanded and was now serviced out of the parish hall as well, Monday- Friday. The need for personal care items and clothing were evident and so distribution services started.
Then the pandemic hit. Many local pantries are now shut down. The Showers of Hope are shut down. Outreach Ministries continues as an essential service and begins to accept the Broome Bounty Food Truck daily, whereby items harvested from local grocery stores donate food near expiration for immediate consumption. Outreach Ministry Volunteers come Monday – Friday throughout the pandemic to accept, sort and distribute the food received. Forty to one hundred households are served on any given day. Outreach Ministries also expand the personal care items and clothing distribution and begins to provide furniture as it becomes available.
Outreach Ministries Update
Food and Clothing Distribution Program—that started during the Pandemic—will be moving its operation from the St. Patrick’s location to St. Cyril & Methodius on Clinton Street in Binghamton at their former Convent building, located behind the church, beginning in the first part of September. The McDevitt Committees of both parishes agreed to split the cost of renting this facility from St. Cyril’s.
This move will allow the Parish Hall to get back to regular parish use as well as serving the needs of the less fortunate as we have done in the past, prior to the pandemic, including bag lunches. We also plan to resume Showers of Hope, as this was not allowed during the Pandemic.
Many thanks to all those who support the ministry with time, talent and / or treasure! Without the thousands of hours volunteer time and effort, without the in-kind and monetary donations, these Outreach Ministries services and care of our brothers and sisters with need could not be. We are grateful for the privilege to serve.
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