When the cold season comes around, the Congregational Church gets busy. Rows and rows of tables are set up in a big cafeteria. Containers of peanut butter, fluff and loaves of bread are set up at each table. Groups of people sit around the tables ready to help. One person spreads peanut butter and fluff on two pieces of bread. The next person bags the bread and puts it in a box. Each person has a job to do at this busy time of year.
The Prospect Congregational Church helps those in need each year. They are partnered with the Brian Gibbons Homeless Outreach Program which provides necessities for the homeless. This organization is ran by Rick Povilaitis.
Everyone in the community is able to take part in giving to the homeless or unfortunate as well. “We ask the people in the church to help us make our sandwiches, make our casseroles and provide funds for them,” says Lois VanWagner, a member of the homeless program at the church.
The members of the church love to help out and provide for the less fortunate. They collect clothes, provide food, collect toys and donate money or gift cards that they give to Povilaitis.
“We collected size large and extra large hoodies for him to distribute to his clients that he meets with,” VanWagner states. “We collect socks, long underwear, scarfs, hats, gloves also to be donated to them as needed. Occasionally we will send over gift cards to McDonalds where he will meet them.”
The church members like to help make and provide food for the homeless. They give this food to Povilaitis so he can distribute it to the homeless. “We do make casseroles once a month. We make a complete meal. We make a casserole, a vegetable salad, and some kind of side dish to go with it,” VanWagner also explains.
Not only does the church give to the homeless through the Brian Gibbons Program, but they give through the Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries. The church creates an activity where each member of the church can pick out a mitten ornament hanging on the tree. Mark Wilson, another member of the church, explains what each ornament does,
“There are mittens that hang on the tree that have requests for kids who are underprivileged and in need. On that, it tells you what age the person is. Plus whether they’re boy or girl, and specifically what they are looking for.”
When a member of the church picks out a mitten, they buy a present for a child in need and bring it back to the church to give to the child.
Another activity the church does for the homeless is White Gift Sunday. On White Gift Sunday each member of the church buys a toy for a boy or girl and wraps it in white tissue paper. ,
“There’s also White Gift Sunday which is another thing that we do with the church,” Wilson explains. “Everybody brings a gift wrapped in white tissue paper and it goes to one of our sister organizations which is the Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries and they throw a Christmas party for the underprivileged youth in Waterbury.”
At this Christmas party, the program gives each kid a present wrapped in the tissue paper.
So many children, families, and adults are so grateful for all the work the Prospect Congregational Church puts in to give them a more enjoyable Christmas each year.