At First Olympia we believe that an essential part of being a disciple is acting on one's faith: serving, giving and advocating for all in solidarity and partnership. Each month the Missions and Social Concerns Ministry Team helps us to focus on a different topic to educate ourselves about serving, provide experiences in hands-on service, or support God's mission in the world financially, prayerfully and actively.
At the church we participate quarterly in Hands-On Missions. These activities include: letter writing to our government representatives, sorting for the food bank, building UMCOR kits, cards to our homebound members and more. We also host regular educational opportunities on a variety of social justice issues.
We support local community outreach organizations!
Community Kitchen: we cook and serve at the Community Kitchen (located at the Salvation Army) twice a month. We fundraise for the food we cook each February during "Souper Bowl" Sunday.
Thurston County Food Bank: church members volunteer regularly in all areas of this important organization. During summer VBC our tweens spend two days of the week volunteering at the distribution center preparing backpacks for food-vulnerable children. Each summer our adults participate in the Food Bank's gleaning program, harvesting and delivering fresh produce for distribution.The first Sunday of each month, the congregation donates non-perishable items and on even months we add our items with our Eastside Neighborhood ina friendly neighborhood competition for the food bank.
Tacoma Community House: we fundraise and supply-raise items for this organization. We are also in the discernment process for sponsoring a refugee family in the coming year (2017) through Lutheran Refugee and Immigration services.
CROP Walk: We annually march in the CROP Walk, as well as fundraise. Money raised from this event supports both Church World Service and our local food bank. In February we also support CWS through donations to purchase emergency blankets.
We also support the following community partners with financial gifts and gifts of our time and talent: Habitat for Humanity, Family Support Center, Interfaith Works Overnight Shelter, Community Youth Services, Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Homes First, and Sidewalk.
We support our local elementary school!
Madison Elementary School: each year we supply-raise 100% of the school supplies for our adopted grade (2016 - 1st grade). We annually give $100 to each teacher for school supplies and support the school with volunteer hours. We also support the Madison holiday store, which allows children to purchase low-cost Christmas gifts for their family from donated items. We are proud of our long standing relaitonship with Madison!
We support our statewide, national and global communities!
We support our denomination's outreach for the emergency needs of our national and global community: UMCOR. We participate in One Great Hour of Sharing (a UMC committment to raise funds for UMCOR's operating costs so 100% of donations can be used to direclty impact those affected by disasters) and we regulalry gather to put together UMCOR kits.
Pigs on a Mission: A few times each year we send out our pigs! Our church members take home ceramic piggy banks, decorate them and fill them with coins. Each time the pigs go out we are raising for a particular organziation (past fundraising efforts have benefitted: Tacoma Community House, Imagine No Malaria and the Heifer Project).
Faith Action Network (FAN): We hold membership in this ecumenical group that advocates politically for justice.
We support United Methodist missions!
We join other congregations to provide salary and monetary support to UM missionaries. We curently support Katherine Parker in Nepal and the Rev. Lyda Pierce, Hispanic Ministry, in our own Annual Conference.
We monetarily support a wide variety of other UM missions:
- Black colleges
- Africa University
- Jamaa Letu Orphanage
- Native American, College students, AIDS, and other ministries.