The Matthew 25 Mission is an outreach program of love and compassion to the needy in Pontotoc County. We provide food and other health care essentials for individuals and families on a monthly basis.
The History of M25M
Although St. Luke's Parish has always been active in reaching out to those in need, in January of 2002, on one of the coldest days of that winter, the parish office received a call from the Red Cross indicating that there was a young mother in need of diapers for her newborn infant. Not having transportation or a sitter for the infant, this young mother bundled her one-month old child, braved the elements, and walked to the Red Cross building in the snow and ice.
After responding to this emergency, a group of parish members met and decided it was time to seriously confront the issue of poverty in Pontotoc County. It was time to act. Although we were not exactly sure how to proceed, vestry members took on the task of canvassing most of the churches in the Ada area as a means of assessing services offered. After gathering this information, knowing how costly and essential food was to every household, and investigating what our buying power might be through a regional food bank, it was determined that food would be our primary direction for the future. After a few months of sensitizing the congregation to the need and receiving very generous donations from our members, on June 20, 2002, we began a monthly distribution of food to those in need in the Ada area.
With a phenomenal growth in the number of people we serve, two other area churches offered their commitment to this project in the summer of 2004: First United Methodist Church and St. Joseph's Catholic Church. We have also enlisted the support of young people from leadership and life skills classes in our local schools as well as individuals in the Ada area on the third Thursday of each month.
Financial contributions can be made to "St. Luke's Episcopal Church" and designated for the Matthew 25 Mission.
What We Hope to Accomplish
As we are all painfully aware, the issues surrounding the causes of poverty are complex. As a small parish in rural Oklahoma, we are not equipped to take on the structures that perpetuate cycles of poverty or cause unemployment or homelessness. We can, however, do something to ease the tension in families created by not having enough to eat and to provide relief to children who might otherwise go to school or to bed hungry.
We also realize that there are many elderly adults long past the age of retirement who are operating households on fixed incomes. With the rising cost of prescription drugs, utilities, and other essentials, some elderly adults are forced to take short-cuts with their health care. Our hope is to bring relief to grocery bills so that other essential needs can be met.
We are aware of the extreme sensitivity to personal dignity needed in such a ministry. "Compassion without judgment" is key to engaging in the many people who come through our doors on a regular basis. Some find themselves newly unemployed while others discover they can no longer meet the demands of everyday living while working at minimum wage. One of our goals is to restore that loss in self esteem and to treat each person as if he or she were Christ himself, which, according to the 25th Chapter of Matthew, they are. No one need ever be embarrassed to receive from our abundance. We offer it freely, and we hope that in doing so, others will be strengthened to act sacrificially for the good of all people.
How Can I Help?
As with all ministries of this nature, financial contributions are greatly appreciated, but there are other ways of helping as well.
- Financial Donations: Your dollars provide great buying power through the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank.
- Food Donations: We are more than happy to receive canned goods and other non-perishable foods.
- Your Time & Energy: We are always in need of willing hands and feet to help us do the work of preparation and distribution. (Check with us about times and places.)
- Plastic Bags: If you wouldn't mind saving your plastic grocery bags, we can use them. Simply drop them off at the church office.
- Your Prayers: At the heart of every good work is the God who provides the grace to accomplish it. We need your prayers as we continue the ministry that God empowers us to do.
Other Outreach Ministries
Other Outreach Ministry in which St. Luke's has provided financial support and other forms of assistance:
- The Salvation Army
- The American Red Cross
- The Episcopal Relief and Disaster Fund
- The Ada Boys' and Girls' Club
- The Compassion Outreach Center of Ada
- The Whirlwind Mission
- Individuals through St. Luke's Discretionary Fund
- The Heifer Project
- Various outreach projects through St. Margaret's Guild
- United Campus Ministry of East Central University
- Ada Area Community Emergency Services (AACES)