Volunteers Packing Food

Outreach

 

The Outreach Ministry sends God's love out into the community and the world. The ministry is comprised of several community programs that are supported by A&HT. For any questions or for more information about a particular program, please contact the outreach member in charge of that program.

 

Community Programs

Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, 420 Wyoming Avenue, Lockland
A&HT is a founding supporter of this ministry, which has grown into a lifeline for 12 zip codes in the Mill Creek Valley. It provides food, household essentials, and emergency assistance, connecting people to essential social services and the skills and mutual support to build the futures they want. Current volunteer roles are limited for safety reasons, but absolutely vital. Contact Melissa Monich at monich.melissa@gmail.com for more information.
 
Tikkun Farm, 7941 Elizabeth Street, Mt. Healthy
A thriving hub where people of all backgrounds from urban teens to Bhutanese refugees come together to garden, prepare food, and grow in physical and emotional wholeness. Many roles available from planning logistics to chopping ingredients at home for community crockpot meals. Contact Robyn Gibboney at robyn.gibboney@gmail.com for more information.

Habitat for Humanity + HOPE Coalition
The Episcopal team of Habitat of Greater Cincinnati, will welcome A&HT volunteers for a new build this summer at 1803 Baymiller Street near Findlay Market in the West End. To get in shape, sign up for Rock the Block on April 10 to work in small, socially distanced groups on projects throughout Greater Cincinnati. Click here to volunteer at a work site. Email Christina Brandewie at cabbrandewie@gmail.com if you can help organize and deliver lunches to volunteers.
 
Heartfelt Tidbits
Heartfelt Tidbits is an extraordinary network of volunteers inspired by Wyoming resident Sheryl Rajbhandari to welcome immigrant families to Greater Cincinnati and help them navigate a new culture, language, schools, jobs, and friendships. COVID-safe volunteer opportunities include Virtual Buddies (weekly conversations with a school child), tutoring adults in English, or helping people prepare for their citizenship exams. Sign up here.
 
Matthew 25 Ministries
M25M is our major way of supporting Sustainable Development Goals projects abroad. It is a logistical miracle, and a joy to be part of it. A&HT’s volunteer day is the third Wednesday of the month. Learn more about volunteering and the COVID safety protocols, including the need to pre-register. Contact Mary Melville at marymmelville@gmail.com for more information.
 
St. Paul Village
St. Paul Village is one of Episcopal Retirement Services’ affordable senior housing communities, and our parish volunteers have a monthly commitment of serving lunch, organizing games or entertainment, and conversing with the residents. Volunteers sometimes also serve at monthly parties for residents which can include bingo and hilarious contests, or special event parties such as a Halloween Costume Party or a “Senior” Prom. St. Paul Village is in Madisonville and Wyoming parishioners usually carpool there. Contact Noel Horne at anghorne@aol.com or Kathy Kessler at kak318@aol.com for more information.
 
Mill Creek Valley: ACTS
As one of four Episcopal congregations near the Mill Creek, we are teaming up with Lincoln Heights parents to document the environmental dangers (lead dust, toxic sound) created by 300 days a year of gunfire on the Cincinnati Police Firing Range as the stakeholder municipalities continue negotiations to implement their commitment to relocate it. We’ll keep you posted on opportunities to learn and help build safe and healthy ground. Contact Ariel Miller at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com for more information.

 

Current Outreach Events

Maple Knoll: Holy Eucharist

First Thursdays of the Month
4:00 pm
Maple Knoll Village [11100 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45246]

Fr. Eric will be celebrating Holy Eucharist in the Maple Knoll Village Chapel at 4:00 pm on the first Thursday of each monthAll are welcome because all belong!

St. Paul Village

Volunteer Opportunities with Low-Income Seniors

Since 2013, we at A&HT have provided volunteer support for the mission of Episcopal Retirement Services in creating an enriched quality of life for the low-income senior residents at St. Paul Village in Madisonville. Our normal monthly commitment is serving lunch, organizing games or entertainment, and conversing with the residents. Sometimes we are called upon to assist with special events such as a Halloween Costume Party or a “Senior” Prom. COVID-19 disrupted this volunteer ministry following our early March 2020 visit.

Happily, St. Paul Village is opening up for visitors again and so, we are renewing our monthly volunteer-support commitment. Generally, our stint at St. Paul Village runs from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm, and we carpool from A&HT for those volunteers who find this convenient. In advance of each monthly commitment, once we learn the planned activity and how many volunteers are needed, we poll our established list of volunteers to see who is available.

More volunteers are always welcome. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, or if you would like more information, please contact Noel Horne [anghorne@aol.com] or Kathy Kessler [kak318@aol.com].

 

Significant Progress in ACTS’ Lincoln Heights Work

by Ariel Miller

I’m delighted to update you on encouraging news about negotiations on the quest to move the Cincinnati Police Firing Range, and the progress our ACTS congregations are making in preparing for Peace Camp for Lincoln Heights middle school students July 18-22 at Bethany School. This will include a glimpse of the volunteer roles opening up for parishioners.

Big Picture: All the key stakeholders – Cincinnati City Council, Hamilton County Commissioners, and Colerain Township Trustees – support moving the firing range from Evendale to land in Colerain Township which is far from residential areas. The major obstacle is money, with the relocation costs estimated from $18-$30 million. Hamilton County Commissioners have already allocated $5 million. Other potential funding sources include federal grants for police training and the State of Ohio, which is promoting the development of regional training facilities.

Peace Camp Progress: Children exposed to chronic stress like the sound of gunfire are significantly harmed emotionally and physiologically. Our Peace Camp, funded by grants from the Procter Fund and the Episcopal congregations of the Mill Creek Valley (collectively called ACTS), seeks to launch a team of middle school peer mediators with skills to help fellow students recognize and handle emotions effectively without violence. Heartfelt thanks to the Sisters’ Bethany School for providing their beautiful campus free for camp, as well as lunches through their amazing Food for the Soul ministry led by Mary Knight. We’re thrilled to announce that we are partnering with Cincinnati’s Center for Socio-Emotional Learning (CSEL) to develop the curriculum and train the counselors and junior counselors. Christ Church Glendale parishioner Mike Eck is researching funding possibilities for ongoing support of the peer mediators, and participated with Lincoln Heights’ Carlton Collins in a meeting on May 5 with the regional foundation Interact for Health.

The planning team brings incredible strength from youth ministry and mental health. Pastor Mike Pearl, Executive Director of the Sisters’ St. Monica Youth Center, brings deep community trust and credibility from his years of serving Lincoln Heights families. St. Simon’s Pastor Dr. Mary Laymon brings decades of experience in trauma-informed care for people of all ages, which she draws on daily in the programing at Tikkun Farm. St. Simon’s Senior Warden LaVerne Mitchell, an educator, past Mayor and City Manager, and current Lincoln Heights Councilmember, is reaching out to Princeton City School administrators for their help in recruiting applicants for camp staff positions and campers with leadership potential. We will work with CSEL to develop ongoing support for the young peer mediators during the school year. Volunteer needs we’re already identifying include administration, a camp nurse, people to lead fun activities like the arts, and being part of Mary Knight’s kitchen crew that week.

Background | The Problems We Hope to Help Resolve: For over seven decades, the Cincinnati Police have used land they bought from Evendale for shooting practice. Local FBI and ATF officers practice on this land as well. Because of redlining, the historic Black community of Lincoln Heights was one of the few parts of Hamilton County where African-Americans could find housing. Parts of Lincoln Heights right next to the firing range now include multi-family subsidized housing whose residents – including many children – have to listen to the sound of gunfire and police loudspeakers just on the other side of a thin line of bushes and trees. Lincoln Heights Village Councilmembers have petitioned for years for the firing range to be moved. The situation became even more unendurable in 2020, with parents and children forced to work and study from home by the pandemic, and the killing of George Floyd flooding the national media. 

The ACTS congregations - Ascension and Holy Trinity, Christ Church Glendale, and St. Simon of Cyrene - joined Rev. Mike Pearl of St. Monica’s Center, a youth ministry of the Sisters of the Transfiguration, to help other Lincoln Heights churches and civic groups support food security when Valley Interfaith was forced to shut down its pantry at the start of the pandemic. Through weekly conference calls, the white congregations became aware of the gun range and started learning about Lincoln Heights’ concern for children’s mental health under this continual stress. That is how we joined Lincoln Heights’ advocacy to move the gun range and to build the community’s capacity to strengthen children’s resilience. 

April 7 Pilgrimage to the Firing Range and News from Key Members of the Cincinnati City Council: Members of eight Greater Cincinnati Episcopal congregations* made a pilgrimage to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority family neighborhood adjoining the Cincinnati Police Firing Range. We listened to the sounds of gunfire and a commentary by young civic leader Carlton Collins of The Heights Movement. We were shocked to see that only a scruffy line of honeysuckle separated streets where children play from the firing range. In preparation for the pilgrimage, I called the office of every member of Cincinnati’s City Council and invited them all to participate. It turned out not to be a good day for any of them, but three sent aides (one of whom couldn’t find us). LaVerne Mitchell and I had a Zoom conference with Councilmember Scotty Johnson, a former Cincinnati Police Officer, who told us he is committed to moving the firing range. Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, a member of Christ Church Cathedral, has been working intensively with the key stakeholders including Colerain Township trustees, securing the agreement of all, and plans to brief Cincinnati City Council on this progress in a public hearing. I will let you know when that’s scheduled and invite you all to attend.
 
*These included major congregations whose members live in Cincinnati: Church of the Advent, Calvary, Redeemer, and St. Andrew’s, as well as suburban congregations St. Barnabas, St. Simon of Cyrene, Christ Church Glendale, and Ascension and Holy Trinity. Bishop Nedi Rivera attended, as well as Diocesan Council member Larry James, Ken Wright, and Ariel Miller of the diocese’s Creation Care Task Force, and diocesan interfaith officer the Rev. Melanie Slane. She is a leader in EquaSion, the interfaith coalition that puts on the annual Festival of Faiths and organizes the advocacy work called A Mighty Stream.

 
Valley Interfaith Van Blessing 1.jpg

Valley Interfaith Refrigerated Van

The Van was Blessed & Added to the Fleet!

WHERE THE STORY BEGAN


For four years it's been a dream to add a refrigerated van to the food rescue ability for Valley Interfaith. Grants were written and denied, and in the first two years, our budget and management processes were such that we could not find space and freedom to be assured our basic services were safe.


With the onset of COVID and a revitalized Finance Committee building a stronger foundation for Valley Interfaith; the effort to push the 'dream' for a van was brought to the forefront by John Keuffer, Executive Director.


After a series of email blasts about the idea, two people stepped forward with the crazy idea to champion the effort to raise the funds and make this happen. Those two people were Ariel Miller and Melissa Monich. Both are servants in the cause at Ascension & Holy Trinity. They asked John to present and they had an anonymous donor who was willing to kick off the effort with a $5,000 challenge.


With that lead-off - the group quickly raised over $54,000 and the dream became reality. Ariel and Melissa reached out to all of the faith-based congregations in our area and sought their involvement and support. They were the frontline drivers of this effort and without them and their efforts, this may still be a dream. As it's been said, it's not the leader who makes change, it's the first followers.