First Presbyterian is blessed with a vibrant deacon board made of members who devote themselves to caring for the homebound, to fellowship, and to acts of kindness for the hurting. The deacons meet each month. During these meetings, they hear concerns about members in need of help, organize special events such as a leaf raking project in the spring or fall that encourages all to participate.
Adopt A Platoon
We have a history of supporting the Army soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Drum in many ways. At times we have formally participated with the Adopt A Platoon program. For current projects, please see the bulletin board dedicated to our military in Fellowship Hall. Some of our past projects include:
- In 2014 we informally adopted Attack Company, 2nd platoon, led by Ben Boyce, sending packages and also supplying sheets and personal care items for returning single soldiers who were temporarily housed in barracks on their return.
- In December 2012 we formally adopted "The Bushmasters" a platoon of 32 soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan in January 2013 for a 9 month mission. We sent packages monthly from a list of the suggested items found on the official Adopt A Platoon website at http://www.adoptaplatoon.org/new/pdf/care.pdf.Â
- In 2009-2010 we knitted caps for the "Warrior" 1st Brigade Combat Team to wear in the cold weather under their helmets.
- In 2007 we helped assemble Family Readiness packets for Operation R.E.A.D.Y. We also put together baby bundles that included hand knit items.
In 2005, a group of members from First Presbyterian renewed our longstanding partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Malawi, Africa. During this visit, we encountered a dynamic malaria coordinator named Grace Chiumia.
As our friendship with Grace grew so did our awareness of the plight of Malawian widows. Widows in Malawi are often "cleaned out" by in-laws after the loss of a spouse. It is a frightful and painful tradition. In 2007 we began working on a "widow's fund" that would allow for the most vulnerable in Malawi to find hope. The Women of Grace Widows Fund has now become a stand alone non-profit organization. Each year on Christmas Eve, we take an offering that goes directly to those in the greatest need. Here is a link to their latest newsletter.
This organization was awarded a Presbyterian Women grant in 2011 to support their Keys to Education program for 3 years. The goal of this project is to provide educational materials and training to teachers in Malawi. Those journeying to Malawi are generally teachers themselves.
Beginning in 2006, First Presbyterian Church has raised funds to provide for more than 150 shallow wells in the sub-Saharan Africa countries of Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. Working with the able Marion Medical Mission organization, our humble donations become new life for villages enduring the absence of clean, drinkable water.
Numerous individuals have volunteered to take part in their installation.
The Crisis Nursery is a temporary orphanage for babies 0-2. In Malawi the first two years of an infant's life is one the most crucial in concerns to development but also the most strenuous financially, physically and emotionally for the parents. To make sure these infants were taken care of properly for these first two years the Crisis Nursery was set up In Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The Crisis Nursery in Mzuzu was under the operation of the North Country's own Rev. Paul and Darlene Heller. Several Church members have spent weeks working within these Nurseries giving donations of baby's clothes but also volunteering their time taking care of the babies in various ways.