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San Angelo Lifestyles

Sierra Vista UMC Outreach

Written by Dee Lackey

 


According to senior pastor, Rev. Stan Whites, Sierra Vista United Methodist Church {which recently dedicated time and effort to renovating and expanding their properties} is now poised  “to meet needs not only within the congregation but also those beyond our walls.”
A fall Harvest Festival and accompanying pumpkin patch are among two long-standing traditions. The Great Pumpkin Patch, at least a 20-year staple, has attracted as many as 2,000 children and families during its month-long attraction.

 


Community entities benefiting from the Festival has included Wesley Soup Kitchen, Young Life/Young Lives, Project Dignidad, Concho Valley Home for Girls, Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Meals for the Elderly, Rust Street Ministries and Children’s Advocacy Center.

A pet project for at least a dozen years is the church’s sponsorship of Alta Loma Elementary School on the city’s west side. What began as an “adopt-a-school” request with a clothes closet and occasional teacher snacks has now blossomed into a year-long mentoring of students, teacher luncheons, summer feeding and reading programs and holiday celebrations.
Last year’s lunch time feeding effort was altered to drive-through meals, however, plans are being discussed to return to in-person dining at the neighborhood’s Gospel Ministries. Approximately 85-95 Sierra Vista volunteers served 2,700 meals, five days a week for five weeks, all while dealing with COVID guidelines.

 


Another sobering realization was that not all students had adequate beds leading to another project which provides a portable bed, sheets, pillow and comforter. To date, more than 1,200 beds and bedding have been provided not only in the Alta Loma area, but throughout the city with the assistance of House of Faith and San Angelo ISD personnel identifying those in need of this most basic necessity.

 


Additionally, buckets of cleaning supplies for flood victims, Christmas boxes and Honduran mission trips have assisted those in crisis far beyond the boundaries of our church and city.
The most recent outreach beginning this spring has been ramp construction for those with mobility issues in tandem with the Texas Ramp Project. Serendipity Sunday school class volunteers are aiming for one or two ramps per month and church youth are following up with a coat of non-slip paint on each project.

 


As a long-time member/volunteer states, “When you follow Jesus, you have to move. You just can’t sit still!” †


 



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