International and Community Partners

WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that it is in their “deeds” rather than in their words that the glory of God is seen. At Saint Thomas, we transform the Word of God into deeds through our commitment to Christian Service both locally and globally. As faithful witnesses of Christ’s love we…

  • Feed the hungry (parish food pantry, summer mobile food trucks, ACCESS food drive, God’s Kitchen).
  • Advocate for affordable housing (Habitat for Humanity and the Congregational Partnership Program).
  • Attend to the sick (Hospital Ministry).
  • Celebrate life (Funeral luncheons).
  • Support Respect LIFE (signature campaign, March for Life, 40 Days for Life).
  • Pray for those requesting prayer (Prayer ine Ministry).
  • Reach out to the community (Thanksgiving Dinner, Winter Community Dinner, Simple Soup and Stations).
  • Share the gift of Life (Blood Drive).
  • Respond with emergency financial support (Direct Service).
  • Learn to advocate for the poor (JustFaith, global partnerships with Esperanca and Hope for Haiti).
  • Care for creation (e-cycle/recycle weekends, Paper Gator, single stream recycling)

As a community of faith, we do the work of Jesus Christ and make his Kingdom visible in our midst. We are the city on the hill that hears the Gospel call and shines forth the light of justice for all to see. Thank you for your commitment to serve as a body of Christ and support others in their time of need.

Every year Saint Thomas tithes 5% of the parish collection to support organizations that provide services to the most vulnerable in our community and beyond. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! The dollar amount of our outreach grant distribution varies, depending on how much is collected, but typically we contribute over $60,000 annually to support local and global needs.

We maximize the impact of our giving by diversifying our partnerships:

  • 3% of collections to ESPERANCA. Their mission is to provide sustainable disease prevention, education and treatment in developing countries. Visit their website at https://www.esperanca.org.
  • 1% of collections to HOPE FOR HAITI. Their mission is to ensure access to education for 10,000 school age students in Haiti every year; their website is http://www.hopeforhaiti.com.
  • 1% of collection to local grant distribution. Grants are made to Grand Rapids area organizations who assist people in need, providing opportunities for our parish to connect, learn, grow and engage in our apostolic work.

Any non-profit direct service organization may qualify for a Saint Thomas Christian Service Outreach Grant. The organization must:

  • Be a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Have been in operation for at least 5 years.
  • Provide financial information.
  • Be in conformity with the values and principles of our Catholic faith.
  • Use the Christian Service Outreach Grant for direct service to people in need (medical care, food, housing, clothing, transportation, etc.).
  • Prohibit the use of the Christian Service Outreach Grant for the purpose of endowments or reoccurring entitlements.

In 2013 we awarded $17,000 in outreach grants to the following local Christian Service organizations:

  • Catherine’s Health Center (health care for uninsured, low-income residents)
  • God’s Kitchen (daily lunch program for Heartside Neighborhood)
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County (affordable housing for low-income families)
  • In the Image (free shoe giveaway program for Congress School students)
  • The Salvation Army’s Congregational Partnership Program (preventing/ending family homelessness)
  • Access of West Michigan (Food Pantry Network)
  • Franciscan Life Process Center (Scholarship Fund for Counseling and Music Therapy)

If you know of an organization that does good work and provides direct services for those in need, consider submitting a grant request on their behalf. The request form is available on our website under Christian Service Outreach Grant or call Lori at 459-4662 or e-mail Lori for a copy.

The Christian Service Advisory Group meets quarterly to distribute funds and advise and evaluate Christian Service ministry process and programs. If you are interested in supporting our Christian Service efforts and would like to be part of the Advisory Group, please contact Lori at 459-4662, Ext. 1220. Thank you.