2020 has proved to be a challenging year for the Outreach Team. We had to cancel several scheduled events: Community Cookout, Dementia Through the Lens of Grace workshop and a Red Cross Blood Drive due to COVID 19. We also did not hold VBS Service Project, Trunk or Treat or a Fall Festival. Even without those events we were still active in the community.
Food Pantry – God has used our Food Pantry ministry to assist so many this year. In 2019 we were open each Wednesday from 9:00am – 11:00am and provided 136 setups of food to families in the community. In 2020, God called us to a bigger challenge. In January and February, we were open on Wednesdays as usual. In the middle of March when the pandemic hit, we began opening on Wednesdays and Fridays. We expanded our hours to 9:00am – 12:00pm during the summer. Since most of the disciples working on Fridays were educators who went back to work in August, we began opening on Wednesdays and Saturdays once school started. This enabled many more of Mt. Hermon disciples to assist with this ministry. We also went back to 9:00am – 11:00am since those were the times when most people came.
We provided 874 “setups” of food in 2020. Each “setup” consists of groceries totaling about $20. That means that Mt. Hermon disciples along with community groups such as Boy Scouts, Pineview Ruritan Club, Woodmen of the World and Thrivent Financial have provided $17, 480 of food for families in our community. The Food Pantry runs solely by donations and is not part of the church budget. In addition, we also distributed 40 Thanksgiving and 40 Christmas bags which contained food for a ham dinner and dessert. The quantity of food in these bags varied depending on the size of the family.
This summer we moved the Food Pantry to a different room in the Education Building. Our new location is larger, brighter and easy access to the outside. We are now located at the end of the hall in the last room on the front of the building facing the church parking lot. The Journey’s Sunday School class graciously agreed to let us have their room at the end of the hall. They relocated to a different room on that hallway. The previous location of the Food Pantry was shared with the computer server. The server room needed more space so the move was a win-win.
Meals on Wheels – Mt. Hermon participates in Lexington County Commission on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program. Jean Shealy and James Hallman chair this ministry at Mt. Hermon. Mt. Hermon has four teams which take turns distributing meals to the elderly each Wednesday.
Facemask Ministry – In May, we started a Facemask ministry through our Food Pantry. This year Mt. Hermon disciples have sewn and donated over 500 handmade facemasks for members of the community. These masks are given to anyone in need of a facemask. There is no way of knowing how many lives have been saved through this ministry.
Prayer Request Boxes – To help the community have a convenient and safe way to let us know how best to pray for them, we installed two Prayer Request boxes at the church. One box is near the Food Pantry pickup area by the cemetery. The other box is in the side parking lot near the Little Free Library. We check these boxes regularly and share the prayer requests with Pastor Gina and the Outreach Team so that we have a group of people praying for their needs.
Little Free Library – This Spring, Trudy Bouknight proposed the idea of starting a lending library for the community. We were very interested. Perry Bouknight built and donated the Little Free Library. He and Parker Boulware installed it in the side parking lot. It is open for the members and community to use. It is stocked with new and used books provided through donations and a Thrivent Financial Action Grant. There are books for all ages in our Little Free Library. People can come at their leisure to check-out the books available. We change the books in the Library every week or so. People can borrow, donate, exchange or keep the books in the Little Free Library. It is a world-wide book sharing program to promote literacy and community unity.
School Supply Drive – In August & September, we sponsored a School Supply Drive to collect needed school supplies and bookbags for area schools. We distributed boxes of supplies and bookbags to Riverbank Elementary, Wood Elementary, Cayce Elementary, Pine Ridge Middle School and Fulmer Middle School.
Visitor Bags – We have restocked our visitor bags. We give these bags to first-time visitors to Mt. Hermon. They contain items such as a pens, post-it pads, water bottle or mug and the church newsletter. Each item has the church name on it.
Adopt a Highway – Mt. Hermon continues to help keep Leaphart Road clean by participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program. Tom Stahl chairs this ministry at Mt. Hermon. He recruits help from other Mt. Hermon disciples. Each quarter a team of volunteers spend a few hours on Saturday picking up trash along Leaphart Road. Caring for our environment is part of our responsibility as God’s stewards.
Free Garage Sale – We successfully held the Free Garage Sale on Friday, December 4. We distributed flyers through the area elementary schools’ snack pack program. The flyers invited those in need of assistance to attend and explained the required COVID 19 protocol. Members of Mt. Hermon and Riverbank Elementary faculty donated items for the Free Garage Sale. We had thirty-four people “shop” our event. Even though their “shopping time” was limited to ten-fifteen minutes, the participants were able to find many items they needed. The people who came were very appreciative of all that they received. They were patient as they waited outside for their turn to shop. Due to COVID 19 we restricted the number allowed in the building at one time. Holding the event in the Fellowship Hall simplified setup and enabled us to help participants stay socially distant as they shopped.
The items that were left after the event were donated to His House because the Salvation Army was closed due to COVID 19. A special thanks to some of Mt. Hermon’s Boy Scouts and their families for packing the leftover items and taking them to His House.
Angel Tree – Through the generous donations of Mt. Hermon disciples and their families we were able to help provide Christmas presents to 36 children and 10 adults this Christmas. We helped families from Oak Grove Elementary, Cayce Elementary, Wood Elementary, Riverbank Elementary, Red Bank Elementary and some Food Pantry participants’ families. Thank you for allowing God to work through you to help others in need. Thank you also to Thrivent Financial for an Action Grant to help with this project.
Church Brochure – Work continues on developing a new church brochure.
Thank You, Mt. Hermon, for answering God’s call to help feed and tend His sheep. Though all of your donations do not show in the church budget, please know that they are appreciated and felt in the community. Thank you for being such dedicated and caring disciples. God has used you to help make all these ministries happen. We are blessed to serve our loving Father together.
- Diane Boulware, Team Chair
In 2020, Mt Hermon’s Lutheran men built 6 wheelchair ramps for those in need and also replaced an unsafe porch and steps. The group also provided the materials required for the projects.
During our Free Garage Sale, one of the volunteers met a mom who’s autistic child loved to swing but the current one had broken. Disciples of Mt. Hermon immediately took action and replaced the swing.
Other Community Projects
3011 Leaphart Road West Columbia, SC 29169 803.794.6430
Although 2020 proved to be a challenging year, it also provided opportunities to serve our community in different and unique ways. When we were notified that we had to close due to the virus, the first several days were a frenzy of planning how to continue our ministries for our Mt. Hermon family, our area’s community and beyond. Following are some of the programs and community outreach that led us to create new ministries and adapt community outreach programs.
Livestreaming and Radio
We were determined to continue Sunday worship. Deciding to livestream our service, the Pastor and Music Director put together a team of 10 people to produce a worship service for livestreaming. This team included the Pastor, 7 musicians (instrumentalists and vocal) and 2 production people. We started with a simple iPhone with microphone attached. During the following 9 months, we researched how to continue this ministry when our doors reopened. We knew we had to update equipment and remove the temporary cables running down the isles! At the end of 2020, we installed new sound and video systems and set up a production room for livestreaming our worship services. It can also be utilized for weddings and funerals as well as other special events.
We also added an option for people to come to the church parking lot and listen to Worship services on FM 106.1.
Drive Thru Communion and Blessings
Our parishioners and also many in our community were missing communion. With that in mind, we started Drive-thru Communion and Blessings on the first and third Sundays of each month. People drive through, stay in their cars and Pastor Gina gives communion and blessings to each passenger. We serve more than 50 people on any given Sunday, not only from Mt. Hermon but from surrounding areas. Through this ministry, Mt. Hermon has been blessed with donations to our Food Pantry and contributions for other outreach programs from people in our community that commune with us.
Outreach Team 2020 Report