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Six Non-profits Receive Donations Totaling Nearly $45,000 from St. James

St. James Lutheran Church Presents Community Gifts: Front row, left to right: Camille Horton, Coordinator, Adams County Food Policy Council, task force of Healthy Adams County; Jacques Merine, founder, Source of Life Ministries; Bob Hendricks, St. James Lutheran Church Council President 2012-13; Jorge Perez-Rico, Casa de la Cultura. Second row: Mary Stevenson, Chair, Board of Directors, Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S.; Welby Snyder, St. James Lutheran Church Council President 2013-14; Bob Daniels, LIU 12, Adams County Literacy Council; Pastor Karl Mattson, Casa de la Cultura. Third row: Ray Hopkins, St. James Lutheran Church, representing a gift sent to Augusta Victoria Hospital; Pastor Michael Allwein, St. James Lutheran Church and Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. Board Member.

(7/24) Gettysburg’s St. James Lutheran Church announced it is giving nearly $45,000 to six non-profit agencies through the church’s mission fund, a monetary stream that enables St. James to fulfill its mission of helping others in dire need, both locally and worldwide, beyond the church’s budgeted and planned donations. Three of the agencies will use funding to establish or maintain downtown Gettysburg resource centers.

"The unique component of this program is that it revolves around the generosity of people who have passed away and trust the congregation to make decisions about where their money should go," said Pastor Jeanette Leisk, pastoral liaison on the committee, which manages gifts from church members’ estates and wills. "In this way, the donors are generous, anonymous givers."

A combined total of $44,800 is being distributed to the following non-profit organizations: Augusta Victoria Hospital, $10,000; Casa de la Cultura, $2,000; Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S, $15,000; Healthy Adams County, $2,400; LIU 12 Adams County Literacy Council, $9,400; Source of Life Ministries, $6,000.

Recipients were determined following a four-month long review process. First, donation proposals from church members were accepted by the mission fund committee and evaluated based on several criteria. Committee members decided to award donations following a 65-35 split between local and worldwide agencies; their recommendations were submitted and recently approved by church council.

"It’s heart-wrenching in a sense to make these decisions because the requests must be narrowed down," said Leisk. "The focus of the mission committee is to award a select number of large monetary gifts that can truly make a difference to the agencies who receive them."

The mission of Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Israel, is to alleviate human suffering, promote peace and to provide health care to those in social need with priority to Palestinian refugees. Since 1950, the hospital has been a project of the Lutheran World Federation.

Casa de la Cultura, in partnership with the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College, promotes the cultural rights of immigrants as well as emphasizes Latino culture through community activities. St. James’ donation will be utilized to help support a Latino cultural center in Adams County for educational programs such as English as a Second Language (ESL).

"ESL programs are life-changing," according to Jorge Perez-Rico of the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College. "From January to May, we had 120 ESL students meeting first at Rec Park, the library and then SCCAP…. Gaining language skills is powerful, like magic, and helps create relationships in the community."

Providing shelter to Gettysburg’s homeless population last winter, the Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. program is a partnership between a number of Gettysburg churches. The program is being implemented in several phases; the next step is to establish a resource center where the homeless can be taken into the program, receive services, and/or stay during daytime hours in extreme weather.

The Healthy Options Program is a food voucher program that helps families to purchase food from Adams County Farm Fresh Markets. The program targets families who don’t qualify for food stamps yet cannot sustain their food budgets. A project of the Adams County Food Policy Council, which is a task force of the umbrella organization Healthy Adams County, the Healthy Options Program began in 2011 as the Fair Share Project.

Gettysburg’s Downtown Tutoring Center at Manos Unidas Hispanic American Center, run by the LIU 12 Adams County Literacy Council, currently provides services to 25 adult students. With St. James’ donation, the council hopes to increase services to 40 area residents. Skills such as reading and writing, as well as health, computer and financial literacy are taught.

The vision of Source of Life Ministries is to rescue the most impoverished children of Haiti by educating and training families with life skills through a school and newly-established safe house. St. James’ gift will help the non-profit organization complete construction of the Safe Haven Children’s Village in Gressier, Haiti.

"This is a big push, exactly what we need," said Source of Life Ministries’ founder Jacques Merine. "This gift allows us to continue construction. God always provides and He is showing us a clear path through this gift."

This is the fourth consecutive year that gifts have been awarded via St. James’ mission fund. In 2012, gifts were presented to six agencies including $11,500 for the construction of the Adams Rescue Mission Apartments and $10,000 to Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries.

St. James Lutheran Church, located at 109 York Street, Gettysburg, is handicap accessible and all are welcome. The church website is

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