At Bethesda, we believe serving those in need, around the corner and around the world, is integral to our life of faith. As Jesus reminds us, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.”
Through the Church Mouse and The Shoppe, Bethesda realizes substantial revenue to support our outreach efforts. This financial support is augmented with countless volunteer hours of involvement. Under the leadership of the Associate for Outreach & Development we focus on three key areas of need.
Our first priority is education. We believe that proper education not only changes the trajectory of one kid’s life but also changes the trajectory of generations to follow. Bethesda supports top quality education for preschoolers of families in need. We also mentor poor and homeless high school students in Palm Beach County who have great potential to graduate from high school and college. We provide scholarships for them which are matched with the State of Florida Prepaid College Plan Fund. In addition, we grant scholarships to students who apply based on need and merit. We send a mission team annually to Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which provides a full-time residential home and school for abused, abandoned, and neglected girls.
Our second priority is food. Twenty percent of the residents in Palm Beach County are food insecure. Through the Outreach Grants Committee, Bethesda supports many of the area’s food relief agencies. Every week throughout the year we prepare and serve meals at St. George’s Center in Riviera Beach and every Friday we fill backpacks for food insecure kids so that their entire family has food over the weekend. And at Bethesda, if it’s February, it’s Feeding in February. This consists of three different events for one cause. We like to remind people that February is the month to eat a meal (Empty Bowls), to bring a meal (Share What You Can), and to make a meal (Palm Beach Unites.) Through Feeding in February, hundreds of parishioners and community members have an opportunity to come together and work to alleviate hunger.
Our third priority is shelter. The Grants Committee awards funds to agencies working to end homelessness in Palm Beach County. We believe that financial support of agencies with expertise in this work is the most effective use of our resources.
Other areas of service include the following:
Angel Tree: Perhaps one of the hardest times of the year for families in need, we partner with various agencies to provide gifts for children and teens who may not otherwise receive a gift.
Blessing of the Animals: We celebrate the feast day of St. Francis each October. In addition to the actual blessing of our own pets, our youth assemble packages of pet food which are delivered to various food pantries to be distributed to clients with pets. They also assemble gift baskets for service animals.
Church Mouse: We partner with Family Promise by providing attire for their clients who are beginning the interview process.
Port Ministry: Our Deacon for Port Ministry serves the pastoral needs of ship crews, many of whom are unable to leave their vessel while at port. In addition, we provide for their practical needs for basic essentials.