Woodlawn Chapel Mission Team serves our congregation, our community and the world beyond through emergency support and meaningful fellowship. This team takes the leadership role, but the entire congregation embraces these efforts.
Woodlawn Chapel Mission Team serves our congregation, our community and the world beyond through emergency support and meaningful fellowship. This team takes on the leadership role, but the entire congregation embraces these efforts…
Circle of Concern
Circle of Concern has fed the hungry in west St. Louis County for 50 years. The organization, located in Valley Park, only 20 minutes from Woodlawn Chapel, began in 1967 with a “circle” of West County churches of various denominations searching for a better way to serve area struggling individuals and families.
Today, Circle serves more than 2000 individuals monthly: 600+ families per month and nearly 1500 households annually. These include individuals and families residing in the Parkway, Rockwood and Valley Park School Districts whose household income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.
Woodlawn Chapel supports Circle with:
- Coupon Club-purchased items
- Cash donations
- Volunteering as board members as well as pantry workers
- Bucket Brigade: In summer 2021, with $600 in donations from our congregation we were able to fill 40 buckets with cleaning supplies for Circle of Concern clients.
- Morning Glory Cereal Drive: In fall 2021, we netted 170 full-sized cereal boxes and 210 individual boxes for Circle of Concern with assistance from our Mothers Day Out families.
- Thanks & Giving Cake Kits included cake mix, icing, oil and a disposable aluminum pan. In November 2021 we donated 41 kits.
- Christmas Giving Tree (adopt-a-family: In 2021, due to the pandemic restrictions, we were asked to donate gift cards which were distributed to Circle clients. Our congregation donated $2,000, allowing us to “adopt” 40 individuals with $40 gift cards for each.
- Emergency Donations
- Flood relief cleaning supplies, January 2016
- Spread the Love campaign generating more than 137 jars of jelly in February 2020.
- $400 to help cover client utilities in December 2020.
Woodlawn Chapel’s Coupon Club strives to reduce local hunger by combining coupons with store sales in order to stretch our dollars to purchase more food for Circle of Concern food pantry in Valley Park, Missouri. Since 2011, we have been in constant contact with food pantry management to determine pantry needs then actively shop each week. As of 2021 we have provided $131,455.00 in food and personal care items, having spent just over $50,070.00.
We could not have reached our milestone without our congregation’s support.
Coupon Club results through the years:
- 2021: Spent $9115 for $14,476 retail value of 6994 items
- 2020: Spent $3348 for $11,677 retail value of 4983 items
- 2019: Spent $6543 for $12,569 retail value of 4789 items
- 2018: Spent $6431 for $14,693 retail value of 4387 items
- 2017: Spent $3338 for $11,908 retail value of 2411 items
- 2016: Spent $3340 for $11,170 retail value of 3231 items
- 2015: Spent $3496 for $9465 retail value
- 2014: Spent $4659 for $12,997 retail value
- 2013: Spent $3800 for $12,500 retail value
- 2011-12: Spent $6000 for $20,000 retail value
Food pantry clients may change, but the need to feed the hungry endures. In recent years, manufacturers’ coupons have dwindled and store sales are not discounted as deeply. According to the Wall Street Journal, food prices have risen 6.4% from December 2020 to December 2021, mainly due to pandemic influences, supply chain interruptions and people preparing more meals at home.
Every September our Dessert Auction brings out the best in baking from our members plus a fun bidding war for cakes, pies and cookies, which provides annual funding for Coupon Club. In 2019 our Dessert Auction raised $3100. In 2020 and 2021, we were unable to hold our auction due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead our Deacons held a combination fundraiser and fellowship Roast ‘em & Toast ‘em event in October 2021 netting more than $900.
The congregation provides the coupons, and donates to specific emergency funding drives. Members also donate Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s Reward points earned by shopping at area grocery stores by keying in 314-527-9385 at grocery or pharmacy checkout.
In 2020, The Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy awarded the Woodlawn Chapel Coupon Club a grant of $1,276.00 to help support our efforts.
If you have any questions, would like to donate and/or volunteer, feel free to call Judy Simms-Brown, (314) 527-9385.
Mother’s Day Gift Bags
For mothers staying in the three St. Louis area Ronald McDonald Houses, who’s primary concern is for their child hospitalized nearby. every May, in time for Mother’s Day, the Mission team and Woodlawn Chapel volunteers assemble beautiful, large tote bags filled with personal care items like hand cream and lip balm, skid-proof booties, adult coloring books and pencils, reading material, puzzles, journal & pen – items mothers will appreciate during a hospital stay, and that offer our hope and love during this stressful time.
In May 2021 we delivered forty bags!
Little Free Library
Woodlawn hosts our own Little Free Library to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges.
Through this nonprofit organization, millions of books are exchanged each year around the world, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
The Woodlawn Chapel Women’s Bible Study group manages our book selection and turnover.
Newborns in Need of Eastern Missouri
Each spring, Woodlawn Members donate newborn clothing, blankets and infant care items for new mothers in financial difficulties through Newborns in Need of Eastern Missouri. Everyone loves baby things and the bassinette, which sits in our narthex, overflows with everyone’s donations.
More than 1,000 items were collected March/April 2021, including diapers, sleepers and layette sets.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance/PDA
In November, 2019, eleven members of the Woodlawn Chapel congregation travelled to Anasco, Puerto Rico, to assist with home repairs leftover from the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria. This little mission team sealed the roofs of six homes, scraped and painted interior walls and worshiped with our host church, The First Presbyterian Church of Anasco.
Learn more from three of our participants who shared their observations with our congregation by clicking on one of the words below…
Presbyterian Giving Catalog
Based on our 2019 mission trip where we we met women who had lost their sewing machines – there only source of independent income- in the resulting floods from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in May 2021 we led the Sewing Seeds of Love funding drive which allowed us to purchase 28 sewing machines from the Presbyterian Giving Catalog for distribution to wormen in poverty in the United States and third world countries.
St. Louis Area Diaper Bank
Through community diaper drives and donations, the Diaper Bank collects as well as purchases diapers and distributes them to individuals in need through a wide variety of service agencies and faith-based organizations. The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank believes all of us — babies, children, and adults — deserve to be clean and dry.
In March 2021 we coordinated with the Diaper Bank to distribute 8500 diapers to Newborns in Need of Eastern Missouri, plus Covering House, Ascension Catholic Church pantry and the Parkway School District food pantry
In July 2021 we led a drive, collecting more than 1000 diapers. We also volunteer at the bank to repackage diapers from large boxes for distribution to individuals.
Sunshine Ministries Community Closet
This organization allows families, living at or below the poverty level, from the north St. Louis area, to shop for needed items at greatly reduced prices.
In the winter of 2020/2021, our members donated more than 230 new cold weather items for men, women and children through our annual Hat/Scarf/Mitten & Glove Collection in November. We had lots of community support from the Mad Hatters knitting group at The Fountains assisted living facility.
Throughout the year, Christmas Joy offering helps sustain important PC(USA) ministries and programs, including assistance to current and retired church workers, as well as developing future leaders at racially/ethnically diverse schools and colleges.
One Great Hour of Sharing
We also participate in this program, run by Presbytery (USA), each spring. This program provides additional resources for assistance activities and programs locally, nationally and worldwide.