St. Andrew’s is renowned for our creative and effective commitment to outreach, which is directed primarily to those who are homeless and hungry. Outreach programs help. Our parish maintains a visible presence in our community demonstrating our deep commitment to helping people in need.
Family Shelter Program (Family Promise)
For the past 35 years, we have been faithfully supporting the homeless of Bergen County, strongly supporting Family Promise of Bergen County, a program assisting working families experiencing homelessness.
1986, St. Andrew’s joined with congregations around Bergen County in sheltering those who were homeless overnight at the church. While most congregations covered one night a week for a month or two at a time, St. Andrew’s welcomed single men and women every Saturday evening for six months every year. When Family Promise began sheltering families who were experiencing homelessness, St. Andrew’s was the first congregation to sign up.
For almost 10 years, St. Andrew’s opened its doors and provided a safe, home-like environment to homeless families with children. Members of the congregation and others from the community cooked meals, provided hospitality, and became overnight hosts for the guest families.
In 2020, Family Promise was forced to change its model and began sheltering families who were homeless at local hotels to keep them safe during COVID. At the same time, the issue of food insecurity became more apparent especially as many lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Family Promise began focusing more of its energy on its Walk-in Dinner program. Members of the congregation, including the children, have found ways to support this vital program which provides free meals to anyone who needs it, no questions asked.
Bergen County (one of the most affluent counties in the country) has over 2,000 people who are considered homeless. Our area is not immune from need. St. Andrew’s seeks to be on the forefront of anticipating and meeting those needs in conjunction with the town itself. Challenges include identifying those in need and having an open and welcoming program that encourages those that need help to seek it with us and with God’s help.
Annual Harrington Park Food Drive
Since 1993 we have conducted an annual community-wide food drive. Members of St. Andrew’s, as well as other volunteers, deliver an empty grocery bag to each of the nearly 1,600 homes in Harrington Park, asking that they be filled with groceries and returned to the church.
Each year we collect about 300 bags of groceries (more than two tons of food), which we distribute to nearby food pantries. Since we began, we have collected food worth over $100,000.
Weekly Food Basket Collection
Pre Covid, every Sunday our younger children pass a basket during the Offertory to collect canned goods and other non-perishables, which were distributed to local food pantries.
While we cannot currently congregate due to recent Covid restrictions, we are still collecting food in a rubbermaid bin right outside the front doors of our church to accept donations.
Our Team St. Andrew participates every fall in this walk to raise funds to combat hunger worldwide. Over the last 14 years St. Andrew’s has raised $24k, and traditionally ranks in the top three participating congregations in our area in terms of money raised and the number of participants who walk.
Reaching Even Further
In addition to the love and labor we invest in outreach, St. Andrew’s gives direct financial support to our Diocese and other organizations.