St. Martin of Tours, a disciple of Jesus, was a diligent missionary and a staunch defender of the poor and helpless. Following Jesus’ example and inspired by St. Martin, we as individuals and as a parish, reach out by sharing with those in need. Jesus said, “As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
Outreach is a compilation of individual efforts to help people in need: in the community, within our parish, or wherever a need is recognized in the world. The Outreach team coordinates hands-on involvement and the distribution of parish outreach funds. The projects that we are currently involved with are:
- Somerset County Food Bank. St. Martin’s serves at the food bank handing out food on Saturdays for the months of May and August. In addition, food collections are made semi-annually and taken to the food pantry.
- Appalachia Service Project.
- Housing, Outreach, Multifamily, Empowerment (HOME), formerly the Interfaith Hospitality Network. St. Martin’s is in charge of helping out the homeless who are staying at the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church 3 evenings a year. One person or a team prepares dinner for 2-3 families and serves the meal. Another team is present with the families after dinner, and then sleeps overnight. This is a very rewarding hands on ministry. During the pandemic the families were housed in hotels and parishioners made meals for them and at Easter, baskets of toys and candy were distributed for the children.
- Christmas Gift Distribution to those in need in Somerset County. In 2021 we adopted a family through HOME who were devastated by Ida and provided Christmas gifts for all family members.
Other ways to help include:
- Making ziti and other casseroles for S.H.I.P. (Samaritan Homeless Interim Program)
- Staffing the Mobile Soup Kitchen. Two helpers are needed to run SHIP’s Mobile Soup Kitchen at Sacred Heart Church in Manville on the third Wednesday of each month. Easter baskets were also donated to S.H.I.P. for distribution from the Mobile Soup Kitchen.
- Donation of Peanut Butter and Tuna for the County Food Bank
- Friends in Serving Humanity (FISH). St Martin Church and the school collected new Easter clothing for children and this was donated to FISH. In the fall, a collection of socks and underwear was also donated to FISH.
- Clothing donations were collected during the year and winter coats and jackets collected for St. Martin’s Day were distributed to Cathedral Square Senior Housing in Hamilton, NJ plus other charities throughout the State.
- Yellow Ribbon Project. We collect personal products and snacks for stockings for military personnel.
- Local Nursing Homes. Parishioners, the children in the school plus Troop #101 have made thinking of you cards for local nursing home residents and in 2021 they also made Valentine cards. Cards were also sent to at home parishioners of St. Martin
- Sweatshirt donations led by the youth of St. Martin’s and donated to teens of families using the Food Bank – I don’t know if the youth group still does this.
- Bound Brook Spirit Fund of the Bound Brook School District. Parishioners donated candy and toys for Easter Baskets which were assembled by Outreach. In addition, personal care products for Hygiene kits were donated by parishioners and distributed to those in need after Ida
- Episcopal Relief and Development Offerings to those in crisis around the world.
- St. Martin’s sponsors a foursome annually for a golf outing hosted by Trinity Cathedral.
Additionally, the outreach team identifies specific groups to support with financial contributions. These include: Somerset County Food Bank, Jail Chaplaincy of Somerset County, S.H.I.P., Chaplaincy to the Elderly, Trinity Cathedral (the cathedral church of our Diocese of New Jersey), Appalachia Service Project, an Orphanage in India for children affected by 2004 tsunami, and our fair share of the Diocesan Mission that supports the diocese and Episcopal missions in the world at large.
We also host local substance abuse support groups within our building on a daily basis.