This information was provided by the Storrs Congregational Church:
The Storrs Congregational Church has presented checks totaling $35,000 to local and international organizations, including the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic and the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM), and additional gifts are anticipated.
The funding gifts are a component of the church’s Welcoming All Campaign, which raised funds through pledges and gifts to make church properties accessible to all.
Launched in January 2009, Welcoming All raised $1.1 million for construction of an elevator to make the SCC Parish House and Education Building accessible to all. Other improvements included a second floor hallway connecting the buildings, new restrooms, and a ramp.
Church members voted to use funds in excess of construction costs to support outreach and missions activities. Construction of the elevator and other improvements was completed in 2010. After payment of a construction loan was completed this past summer, income from continuing campaign pledge support is being disbursed to organizations designated at a congregational vote in September.
Through the generosity of the congregation and other donors in the community, the first gifts and recipients of the outreach and missions support are:
• $10,000 to the Covenant Soup Kitchen in Willimantic. St. Paul’s Church in Willimantic began Covenant Soup Kitchen in 1981 through its Isaiah 58 Ministry to address local urban poverty problems. In 2006 the program incorporated separately. In addition to the Meals Program, which provides breakfast and lunch six days a week, Friday suppers and Sunday bag lunches, and the Food Pantry, the program offers a variety of other care and advocacy services, job services, and medical and dental services. Volunteers from Storrs Congregational have for many years participated by preparing Saturday lunch several times a year and sharing excess food from the church’s food pantry.
• $10,000 to WAIM, also based in Willimantic. WAIM was founded in 1984 as a partnership of area faith communities to provide caring service and resources to people in need in the Windham region. It moved to its current location on Main Street in Willimantic in 2000. Free services include distribution of clothing, furniture and household items, utility assistance, a community garden, unmet necessities fund, and emergency housing assistance. Storrs Congregational Church has participated actively in WAIM since its founding, providing financial and volunteer assistance.
• $5,000 to Heifer International. Heifer’s mission is to work with communities throughout the world to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. Gifts of livestock and training enable families to improve their nutrition and generate income. In exchange for their gifts, families agree to give one of their animal’s offspring to another family in need - “Passing on the Gift.” The church plans to pursue active involvement in Heifer through participation in programs at the Learning Center at Overlook Farm in nearby Rutland, Massachusetts.
• $5,000 to the scholarship fund of Church Women United (CWU). Women of the Storrs Congregational Church have actively participated for many years in the local affiliate of Church Women United, a national Christian ecumenical women’s movement founded in 1941. For over twenty years the Greater Willimantic CWU has provided scholarships for training in health care professions to provide people with the opportunity to obtain jobs that will enable them to earn a living wage. The program currently gives grants for training in licensed practical nursing and radiology.
• $5,000 to the Silver Lake Conference Center. The Silver Lake Conference Center in Sharon, Connecticut, is the home of the Outdoor Ministries of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. In addition to its summer church camp programs, it has been welcoming church groups, youth groups, schools, non-profits and businesses, during the fall, winter, and spring since 1957. Church members from SCC have attended as campers and volunteers and have used the site for retreats and meetings.
Storrs Congregational Church, United Church of Christ (UCC), was established in 1737 and will celebrate its 275th anniversary in 2012. Located on North Eagleville Road and adjacent to the University of Connecticut’s main campus, it is an open and affirming congregation.