The Fred Byrd Scholarship Program
This scholarship program is designed to send children, ages 6 thru 16, to Camp Gravatt. Camp Gravatt, a faith-based, co-ed, overnight camp located in Aiken County, accepts campers of all denominations. This scholarship provides an opportunity to attend a faith based camp for a week or two during the summer. Children, selected to attend, are from families that do not have the financial means to otherwise attend.
The scholarship is named for The Venerable Frederick C Byrd, who grew up in Ridge Spring’s Grace Church- one of the three churches that make up Church of the Ridge. Originally two (2) children were sent, by Church of the Ridge, each summer. For the past couple of years we have been able to send as many as four (4) children. For more information on Camp Gravatt visit their web site at www.campgravatt.org.
Food Bank Outreach Ministry
The Church of the Ridge began the food bank outreach ministry in 2010, to provide food and monetary donations to the two small food banks serving our rural area. These two food banks are registered with the USDA food distribution and receive food through the large area food bank distribution centers (Golden Harvest and Harvest Hope) which is distributed based on the poverty population of the county. Smaller rural food banks, such as ours, do not therefore receive the quantity of food as do the urban areas, so there is a great need for community support. Since the Church of the Ridge has three churches, 2 in Edgefield county and 1 in Saluda County, we decided to divide the donations on a 2 to 1 basis between the 2 food banks: Johnston Food Bank which serves residents of Edgefield County and Riverside Community Enterprises, which serves residents of Saluda County. In 2015, we added a new food bank which serves 30-40 families in the Ridge Spring area of Saluda County, Helping Hands Ministry . We continue to divide the donations of food and monetary donations between the 2 larger food banks on a 2-1 ratio and distribute food to our 'new' food bank once a month.
Our congregation brings food items to church each Sunday. These donations are collected by two of our parishioners (Ric Vann and Jerrold Watson) for delivery to the food banks. We also encourage local businesses to collect food for the food banks and pick up those donations. There are food bank envelopes placed in every pew, and an announcement is made each Sunday on our current needs and status of donations. The collection plate donations are sent to the food banks quarterly to purchase food to distribute to their participants.
What we have learned from this ministry is that although the government programs such as SNAP and the USDA food distribution help a great deal, there is still an overwhelming need particularly in the rural areas. We make it a priority to distribute pet food to 'our' food banks. Studies have shown that a companion animal is vitally important as emotional support for persons living alone, and we want to do everything possible so that people will be able to keep their companion animals as they will often go hungry themselves to make sure their pet has food.
We also have an Annual Animal Blessing to commemorate St. Francis Feast Day, and the collection goes to our food banks to purchase pet food.
We approach the food bank ministry as a way to put ourselves 'in their shoes' and think of things we take for granted ... we are making it a priority to include items such as toiletries, over the counter medications and vitamins in our donations, as food banks rarely have the funds to purchase these 'non essentials', and the SNAP program does not cover these items. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices: seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on. We also bring 'treats' such as granola bars and nuts and even cookies and brownie mix ...imagine yourself in this situation and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
If you would like to participate in this exciting outreach ministry but are unable to attend church, you may make a donation and mail to our church office address! (Make check out to Church of the Ridge with 'food bank' in the subject line) If you have any ideas or suggestions or would like an accounting of the funds raised for this effort, please let us know.
It is an honor and privilege to be able to serve our community and our Lord in this fashion.
Mary Lou Seymour 275-0841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.