As a “tithing parish,” the Newman Center contributes five percent of the offertory each month to nonprofit organizations. Those organizations and percentage each one receives are chosen by the Newman tithing committee each fiscal year. As part of a new effort to increase awareness of the organizations Newman tithes to, we will be publishing a tithing report in the last bulletin of each month. This will detail the amount collected for each organization the previous month. We will also highlight one organization each month.
Note from Fr. Rich:
Regularly, I have the privilege of signing a series of checks that are directed to a variety of organizations that are the front lines of social ministry in Columbia. There are 13, and the amounts directed vary. The first time I had this joyful chore, I was surprised at the breadth of organizations that our community supports; surprised, proud and humbled.
As a practice, tithing is solidly grounded in our biblical foundations. Deuteronomy 14:22-29 states that one-tenth of all that comes into our possession belongs to God; and does so quite clearly. As a practice, our protestant cousins are considerably more compliant to those particular verses. But this community has embraced the practice with wonderful intentionality and commitment. It is long standing and generously supported. And for that I want to take this opportunity to say, “THANK YOU!”
The Food Bank
Serving Central and Northeast Missouri, this agency purchases bulk foods and solicits and receives hundreds of food contributions that it distributes to food pantries, schools, homeless shelters and other agencies to feed about 114,000 needy people every month. In addition to our tithing, parish volunteer groups regularly package foods at the Bank’s warehouse and many parishioners aid the Columbia Food Pantry (Bear Creek) directly through our monthly, non-perishable food collections.
Show Me Central Habitat for Humanity
Dedicated to providing affordable housing to income –eligible families, Habitat creates a strong partnership with potential buyers who must complete 200-350 hours of sweat equity to be allowed to enter into a twenty year, no interest, no profit mortgage with the agency. Homes completed in Columbia number 124. Some African refugee families, resettled here by our diocesan Refugee and Immigration Services, have been able to earn a Habitat home. Newman parishioners volunteer in building the homes, helping the families meet the requirements, assisting in the homes’ dedication celebrations! Tithing funds are used specifically in advance planning: purchasing building permits and other city/county fees.
Voluntary Action Center
This agency is a “jack-of-all-trades” resource for people who don’t know where else to turn. Sent by churches, social agencies, police, neighbors and strangers, the poor come for food, shelter, transportation, utilities help, health care and many other needs. VAC assesses the family situation, offers referrals to other social services, provides small amounts of money for immediate needs, gives bus tickets for local and occasional stranded-traveler problems. Our tithing is specifically targeted to the FISH (Faith in Service to Humanity) fund, originally a coalition of the downtown churches who recognized the need for this kind of help many years ago.
Great Circle (Includes the former Boys’ and Girls’ Town of Missouri)
This is a statewide, not-for-profit, children’s agency serving abused and neglected children, mentally ill children and those with multiple life challenges. It has a Columbia residential campus (group homes) that provides intensive individual and family treatment, crisis intervention, emergency placement and schooling. Great Circle therapists also oversee a program of foster care placements, and post-treatment help for families reunited after the child’s discharge. Our tithing is specifically used for pragmatic, immediate needs of children suddenly removed from their homes (or the street) — without such things as pajamas, toothbrush, comforting toy or school supplies. This kind of need is hard to include in the regular budget of an agency.
Adult Day Connection
Operated by the University of Missouri, this day care facility offers congenial, supervised, appropriate activities and social interaction for elderly clients who may come for one or more days per week or month. It provides a respite for family caregivers of the participant, but also offers them support, observations of their loved one, and consultation on their efforts at home. Students in health-related professions serve as interns, learning by offering innovative, and fun stimulation. Tithing is specifically used for financial subsidies for clients who cannot afford the full cost of a day’s care, even when sparingly used.
Meals on Wheels
This is a not-for-profit agency that delivers nutritious, hot meals (lunch and/or dinner) to individuals in Columbia who are mostly confined to their homes because of illness, handicap, post-hospitalization period, and caregiving for another sick family member in the home or other situation. Meal costs are very reasonable but over 80% of current recipients have incomes below the federal poverty level so financial subsidies are absolutely required. Our tithing is used to subsidize this basic need. The agency relies on 180 volunteer drivers to deliver the meals (and, not incidentally, to check on the recipient if an unexplained disruption occurs) to about 235 people who may use the service temporarily or on a longer-term basis.
This is a private, non-profit agency devoted to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Serving men, women and children, it offers emergency and transitional shelter, crisis intervention, counseling and support, court and hospital advocacy. It operates a hotline available toll-free in Missouri providing information, support and safety planning. Outreach education to the community about the prevalence, prevention and human toll of domestic violence is another major service. Our tithing is specifically used for aid to individuals (medical, transportation, apartment application fees, etc.) and to subsidize the maintenance/occupancy of the shelter.
LOVE, INC (Love, In the Name of Christ)
This is a gospel-driven organization that exists to “Connect and Equip,” by connecting those in need with those willing to help; equipping those willing to help with training resources and encouragement; equipping those in need with supportive friends and assistance in many forms to move forward in life. Beyond financial support, many Columbia churches provide the resource backup for concrete services, hospitality for meetings and education groups, tutoring, sewing lessons, classes in parenting and financial management. Professional social work staff and volunteers act on the belief that a trusting relationship with a family-in-need is the only basis for trying to alleviate the underlying issues that keep people mired in poverty, violence, addictions and defeat. Newman parishioners were instrumental in creating a furniture bank under LOVE, INC’s auspices which has now evolved into The Love Seat used furniture and clothing store on the Business Loop.
St. Francis Catholic Worker Community Hospitality Mission (St. Francis House, Lois Bryant House, Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen)
This Columbia unit of the Catholic Worker movement has, for over 25 years, provided food and shelter to the poor in accord with the call to action Christ gave in the Sermon on the Mount. Emergency shelter and longer –term housing for some is offered through St. Francis House (men) and Lois Bryant House (women/families) and their facilities provide early morning access to showers, toiletries, food, laundry facilities and telephones for the poor who live on the streets. They operate Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen where a daily meal is served to dozens of guests every day of the year. Our tithing is dedicated specifically to the hospitality mission. Newman parishioners are very active in every aspect of this unique community.
This is a private, not-for-profit agency founded years ago by Vietnam veterans to provide transitional housing, support and outreach to homeless veterans. It coordinates with Truman Veterans Hospital and the VA to see that the veteran receives medical and mental health services, and help in establishing eligibility for veterans’ benefits, food stamps, permanent housing and other assistance. It offers professional counseling, support and the camaraderie of other veteran residents in this very special environment. Our tithing is used in support of the overall mission of the agency.
RAIN of Central Missouri
This is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged people living with HIV/AIDS. It serves 37 counties in Missouri offering housing and utility expenses, health care resources, medication assistance, and referrals for dental and mental health needs. It also has a special Emergency Food Voucher program to provide additional access to food beyond what the food pantries can do. It supplements the state food stamps program to allow the ill client to purchase more nutritious or more specialized foods necessitated by his/her health condition. Our tithing is devoted specifically to the Food Voucher program.
Community Interfaith Resource Center
This center is a not-for-profit corporation providing two programs. One is a drop-in day center where the homeless or nearly homeless can find respite, socialize, receive referrals to agencies for needed services, receive mail, and access a computer/job search program. Noon lunches are sometimes donated by volunteer groups. The second is the winter, emergency homeless shelter known as Room at the Inn which uses local churches to provide the housing. Newman parishioners are active in both programs.
This is a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to promoting the choice of life for women in unplanned pregnancies. Through My Life Clinic, it offers pregnancy tests, STD and STI tests, physician referrals, ultrasound, prenatal vitamin vouchers. It also provides baby supplies as needed, and offers classes in parenting. Tithing supports the mission of the agency.