The purpose of Community Outreach is to have a sustained impact on alleviating the plight of the destitute and poor, primarily through the provision of food and blankets/clothing.
This aligns well with our Parish mission which calls on us “… to know, love and serve God more, as disciples of Jesus Christ”. The Community Outreach committee strives to help with this mission by focusing your contributions on the poor.
Caring for the poor is enshrined in the Doctrine of the Church, which comes from Christ’s teaching to us as we see in scripture.
And Pope Francis continually reminded us of our responsibility for serving others, especially those who are the weakest in our society.
“We are … individually responsible for serving others, especially the weakest.”
STRATEGIC VISION - To be more like Our Lady of the Visitation
Our strategic vision is that our parish becomes a parish of Outreach, living the ethos of Our Lady of the Visitation who went in haste to serve others.
Even though she was herself pregnant she undertook the journey to the hill country to visit her cousin whom she knew was in need of her support.
She took Jesus to others, she saw Jesus in others and was the face of Jesus to others.
Our Lady of the Visitation is a profound identity and faith-based vision of which every member of our parish can be part.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH COMMITTEE
In the past there has been a small Outreach Committee doing outreach using a tithe from Parish funds. There were also several separate programmes, like the Bags of Love, Winter Warmers, etc that were run separately and relied on parishioner donations.
All outreach in the parish falls under one committee and, apart from Fr. Robert and Deacon Mike, it includes representatives from the PPC, the Finance Committee and the old Outreach Committee. Thank you to all on the committee for their invaluable contributions.
The committee meets quarterly with a smaller Disbursement Committee meeting more frequently to ensure we service the poor and needy as timeously as possible.
Barry Smith has resigned. We are very sorry to lose Barry as he has done an immense amount of work on the committee, running the Winter Warmers campaigns, assisting with the Bags of Love campaigns and many other areas. Thank you Barry and God Bless.
We are delighted to welcome Rodney Norman onto the committee who will take over from Barry. Thank you Rod.
Thanks to Sheila Pollard who also joined the committee. She will be focussing on visiting various projects to see that we are having a meaningful impact. She has hit the ground running and has already visited quite a few together with other committee members. We would like to visit all our recipient organisations, and while we don’t want to swamp them, we would love to invite other parishioners to join on these visits.
Outreach has been consolidated into one organisation as one committee. The committee will provide regular feedback and invite involvement where possible from parishioners.
- One Organisation
Community Outreach will handle all projects (including major campaigns previously run separately e.g. Winter Warmers and Bags of Love).
- Raise awareness
Raise the level of awareness of community outreach in the parish and keep everyone informed of the impact their contributions are having.
- Touch those in need
Outreach projects, where possible, should be used to bring members of the parish closer to the needs of under-privileged communities. The letters of thanks show how we have touched the lives of so many.
- Reputable partners
Work with reputable partners, who we evaluate and monitor, to achieve goals where necessary recognizing that we do not always have the expertise in all areas.
We work primarily with St. Vincent de Paul Society in achieving our goals. We also work with many parishes in the diocese and other NGO’s that match our objectives.
We also have established a link with newly constituted CARITAS in Cape Town.
We have identified Gift of the Giver for national disasters/emergencies.
Our faith is the cornerstone in all that we set out to do. We set ourselves ethical principles to focus on as we strive to help the poor and needy in a loving and empathetic manner whilst remaining accountable to our parishioners.
- Respect in all relationships
- Compassion and empathy
- Welcome and serve all with understanding and without judgement
- Justice – fair and impartial
- Stewardship in administration
- Accounting standards
3 BROAD FOCUS AREAS
There are three broad focus areas, namely:
- Hunger is real
- Clothing and Warmth
- Discretionary Outreach
Hunger is Real
Hunger is Real is an ongoing campaign that started in March 2020 as a response to the needs created by the Covid pandemic. It consists of those campaigns where we receive cash and food donations. We thank everyone in the parish for the amazing support of the Hunger is Real campaign.
The funds and food from these campaigns is used exclusively for hunger relief.
To date we have raised over R1m from the Hunger is Real campaign which has made a huge difference to at least 30 communities in the Cape. The situation of the poor in our surrounding areas remains dire and we will continue with this campaign, especially with the ongoing waves of Covid infections; the devastation and impact on the economy caused by the pandemic; and ongoing violence and corruption in our country.
Every cent counts no matter how small or big the donation.
Please see the summary reports of the donations we have made to date from the Hunger is Real campaign. From these you can see the amazing difference we are making in these challenging times.
Bags of Love
This is an annual campaign now in its 19th year, which is run just before Christmas.
In 2020 we collected 600 bags of food*.
In 2021 we collected 650 bags of food* - a new record.
*Each bag feeds a family of 4 for a week.
Below are some visuals from letters of thanks from our latest Bags of Love campaign.
Clothing & Warmth
Clothing and warmth are campaigns for clothing, blankets, etc, like the Winter Warmers campaign.
The funds and goods are used exclusively for the purposes set out in the campaigns.
Thank you again for your generousity with the Winter Warmers campaign. It is an annual campaign (in its sixth year) run just before the start of winter (May – June). The 2021 campaign provided support to 14 beneficiaries and collected/donated 100 bags of clothing and 1400 blankets.
The Discretionary Outreach funds are derived from surplus funds out of the Parish set aside for outreach. The Parish must ensure its running costs are covered. Surplus funds are then used for Outreach. These funds are used for projects that fall outside the other two main categories and also include a small fund for Fr. Robert to use for needy individuals.
An example of Discretionary Outreach is a donation made to Nazareth House to help them with cooking equipment they sorely needed to cater for the needy they look after.
Other Discretionary Outreach needs that we have supported are:
- Donated gifts at Christmas to volunteers in the poor parishes who run the various soup kitchens as a token of appreciation for all they give and do.
- Kula Rose Home: (home for mentally handicapped youth) for a new roof
- Nazareth House : 3 microwaves and 12 kettles plus nappies.
- Flooding in Masiphumelele - we contributed to cement & waterproofing of the worst affected shacks.
Additional Initiatives are:
- Bric a Brac Pink Door: We thank Denise Fourie who has re-established the Pink Door and will continue to manage seconds that will be donated to NOAH who sells them to maintain their activities of care for the aged. Please remember this initiative if you have usable bric a brac at home that you are willing to donate.
- Second hand books: Ongoing collection of books for Goedgedacht charity.
- Skills Upliftment: We are looking to support charities with skills upliftment programs. We have supported Salesians with a donation for stationery and for their Sewing & Life Skills Programme.
The diagram below shows how funds will flow to ensure transparency and good governance.
Hunger is Real funds will come directly from campaigns, and we will report on how the donations are used.
Similarly Clothing and warmth will be separate campaigns, and as for Winter Warmers, we will provide reports.
Discretionary Outreach is topped up from surplus parish funds at the discretion of the Finance Council. We will support ad hoc projects that meet our Social Justice mission.
There is a small fund for Father to use for emergency relief.
There is also the option of applying these surplus parish funds to the other two categories.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS!
A big thank you to everyone who has donated in the past and we hope, that as a community together, we can continue to make a difference.
Please feel free to send any questions or suggestions to Don Bowden via the Parish Office
- Regular report backs will continue to be made to the parish.
- Although regular feedback is received from each partner, we plan to visit projects more frequently.
- Thank you to the committee – a special thanks to Barry Smith for his work in the past – also a thanks to others that have helped – Gina Clifford-Holmes, Denise Fourie, Deborah Jordan and Vivien Cones in the office.
- A very big thank you to all who have donated in the past to the various campaigns
- Please feel free to contact Don Bowden (via Parish Office) with any questions or suggestions.
OUR WORK IN NUMBERS
“I cannot alone change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
These words by St. Teresa of Kolkata were the inspiration for the Community Outreach logo. We have seen that through your generousity, and the caring kindness of people in our parish we can start ripples that will make a difference.
For more information contact:
Chair, Community Outreach Committee
via the Parish Office on 021 794 5185 or email@example.com
Constantia Catholic Church
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch Code: 025 309
Current Acc #: 07 169 8965
SWIFT Code: SBZAZAJJ
Reference: Please add sepcific project e.g. 'HUNGER'
Fr Robert Bissell - Ex Officio Parish Priest *
Mike Brooks - Ex Officio Deacon *
Don Bowden - Chair *
Rose Keanly - Vice Chair & Finance Council representative *
Sheila Pollard - Visits to Projects
Rod Norman - Social Justice PPC
Karen Parkin - Marketing
* Disbursement Committee (DC)
Click here to watch the Community Outreach Update Video on our Parish YouTube Channel. (5 March 2022)
Click here to watch the Community Outreach Introduction Video on our Parish YouTube Channel.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH UPDATE - 5 MAR 2022
Click here to download
COMMUNITY OUTREACH OVERVIEW - 10 AUG 2021
Click here to download
Hunger is Real
HUNGER IS REAL REPORT - 4 NOV 2021
Click here to download
HUNGER IS REAL REPORT - 30 JUN 2021
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The local church is the largest social network on the planet and has the ability, authority and permanency to do far more than any government institution could.
- World Relief