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Outreach Ministries

Christmas

During this special time of the year, many focus on the gifts and forget that "Jesus is the reason for the season".  While gifts are often exchanged, there are still many of our brothers and sisters who lack the basics.  Blessed Sacrament has pledged to try and help those less fortunate members of our community.  We provide food and gifts for any registered member of our Food Pantry at no cost. This is made possible through the generosity of many Diocese of Bridgeport Parishes and our friends at Al's Angels.  We strive to be good stewards of this treasure and pray for the day that these services will not be needed. To donate please contact the Parish Center Office.

 

Food Pantry

This service is another service we provide for neighborhood families in need. Our pantry currently operates on Thursdays from 9:30 to 1:00 PM (closed the First Thursday of the month). We are again blessed from generous local Catholic Parishes and donors who allow us to stock the shelves.   We also provide clothing, books, toiletries and small appliances for those in need. As of today, we average over 150 families served per week. We buy from the Connecticut Food Bank to maximize our buying power.  The pantry is a standing line item of the parish in excess of $10,000 per year. Your tax deductible donations are greatly appreciated. Please contact the office for more details.

 

The St. Augustus Tolton Garden

Our garden is worked by volunteers and all the crops are distributed through our food pantry. The garden has a three season Cold-house that allows us to grow for extended periods.  The garden is all natural and we use no chemicals. We believe that providing people with healthy, organic food is the best way to serve them properly. Our garden is donated and supplied by Pax et Terra. We also receive other donations from local farms and suppliers.  We also have two garden beds where we grow flowers that we use to help beautify our church.  This Cold-house was the first in Bridgeport and serves as a model for other urban communities.  Please stop by or donate to this special project.

 

Thanksgiving

This is a special season for our East End community and through the generosity of many local Catholic Churches and Al's Angels. We are fortunate to provide enough food and a turkey to feed a family of four for a week.  Our gospel choir is often on the road singing at masses where we collect  truck loads of food. We have a local vendor who generously donates a refrigerated truck to store the turkeys in. If you want to see a community at work, please come down and watch this finely tuned machine work during Thanksgiving week. To donate, please contact the Parish Office. See the video of Thanksgiving 2007 in the Media link for Videos. In 2012 we set a new record of over 1,200 turkeys and 1,000 meals distributed.

 

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE

In order to define social justice, let us begin, by taking a look at what social ministry is:
Social Ministry has two main aspects: social service (also known as Parish Outreach) and social action

Social Service is giving direct aid to someone in need. It usually involves performing one or more of the corporal works of mercy. That is, giving alms to the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick or imprisoned, taking care of orphans and widows, visiting the shut-ins etc. Another name for it is charity.

Social Action is correcting the structures that perpetuate the need. Another name for this is Social Justice. Through the lens of social justice, we begin to take a look at the problems and issues facing us in our own communities, the nation and finally the world, and we begin to ask questions such as, "Why is there so much unemployment in our area?" "Why are there so many poor in our community?" "How will the deforestation of our rain forests affect our global climate?" etc. Very often when you are performing social service, you also become involved in solving the problem which created the need in the first place, and the two are closely related and often blend together. An example of this would be, someone comes to your food pantry, and tells you he/she has no food, because he/she lost their job recently. You may know of an employer looking to hire someone right away for a job requiring little or no skills. You give that person food, then place that person in touch with the employer. You then would have solved both problems for that person. (a) the immediate need of food through an act of charity (social service) and (b) you would have corrected the problem which created and perpetuated the need. (social justice)

The Goals of Social Justice and Parish Outreach are the same:

  • To follow the command to "love one another as I have loved you".
  • To enable everyone to enter into a relationship with Christ in such a way, so that everyone can come to know Christ in the same way that the Father knows the Son.

If we think about this for a moment, it becomes clear. If our basic human needs are met, that is to say that if we are not concerned with obtaining food, clothing, shelter etc., then we are better able to enter into a closer relationship with Christ.