Cottonwood's Ministry Involvement:
Mission and Outreach is the arm of Cottonwood Presbyterian Church that attempts to follow Jesus’ instructions to care for the poor and needy. 10% of church income, as well as specific individual donation for this purpose, is devoted to charitable giving.
The 2017 members of the committee charged with this responsibility are Donna Switzer (Mission Elder), Roy Kristensen, Kay Gushee, Betty Hurlbut, Jack Van Klaveren, Doug Kirmer, Larry Simmer and Janet Fitzsimmons. The committee is always looking for new members who would like to be involved in our very rewarding activities.
This year, the committee has voted to support the following organizations:
Family Promise is an interfaith mission dedicated to helping homeless families achieve lasting self-sufficiency by providing safe and hospitable shelter in local churches. It is a national organization that began in 1988 as the Interfaith Hospitality Network and changed its name in 2003. The Salt Lake Center provides intensive case management support during and after an episode of homelessness for dozens of families each year. Cottonwood has supported this mission for many years with other congregations in the area by providing meals and fellowship three days a week, four times a year. Our current partnership is with Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Millcreek where families stay overnight. There are usually 3-4 families totaling 15-20 mothers, fathers and children who work, go to school, receive counselling or stay at the center during the day. Cottonwood volunteers provide dinner and fellowship from 5:30pm until 8:30 pm when the evening host arrives.
Kids Eat is a local grass roots organization that we support in their efforts to provide nutritious meals for poor children in our community. These are children who get free meals during the school week but often go hungry on weekends. Relying entirely on volunteers, they collect food through organizations such as Cottonwood and fill over 100 backpacks which are recycled for future use. The backpacks are distributed through the Boys and Girls club from facilities provided by Murray School District. Cottonwood sponsors one drive each year, with our children and their families' help. Mission also provides some financial support.
Candy Cane Corner
Candy Cane Corner is a partnership of the Road Home, YWCA Utah and Volunteers of America Utah. This holiday store is a great way to help make the season bright for the families of those organizations by offering them a meaningful and empowering holiday shopping experience. We volunteer our time and resources by processing donated new items, stocking the shelves, wrapping the gifts and whatever else is necessary to bring holiday magic and cheer to the children, mothers and fathers that are served.
Crossroads urban Center
Crossroads Urban Center is a nonprofit agency designed to assist people in need of help. As one of the older agencies of this kind, Crossroads has been the starting point for other groups such as the Utah Food Bank. Crossroads operates a food pantry and a thrift shop which offers clothing and household items. Aid is given out through vouchers which are easily obtained. Cottonwood’s congregation donates non-perishable food items, gathered in the shopping carts near the office, which is taken downtown biweekly. Clothing and other items are collected near the gym and taken when the container is full. We also support Crossroads with financial donations.
Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Services.
Volunteers of America is a charitable organization which provides a wide range of assistance and services to those in need. The Mission committee supports their services dedicated to homeless young people, specifically the Men’s Transition Home, which provides housing to young men ages 18-22 years. All have employment as well as 24 hour supervision and counselling. In addition to financial support, at their request, we have provided exercise equipment and bedding. A member of the committee has provided tickets for a “field trip” by the residents to the Utah Museum of Natural History. We are exploring similar assistance to the new transition home for young women. We also donate to the VOA youth walk-in center.
4th Street Dental Clinic
4th Street Dental Clinic offers badly needed dental services to homeless and very low income people who otherwise could not afford such expensive care. Cottonwood provides financial assistance to the clinic.
Salt Lake Donated Dental Services
Salt Lake Donated Dental Services provides free or low cost dental care to low income families. Services are donated by dentists from around the valley and Primary Children’s Hospital. Supplies are also donated. Cottonwood provides financial assistance to the clinic.
Valley Phoenix is a home where children can stay with their mothers while the mothers are receiving drug rehabilitation treatment. Cottonwood provides financial assistance and at Christmas time, the congregation provides gifts for the children, gift cards for the mothers and a Christmas party. When a mother graduates from the program, we may also provide needed assistance to set up a new home.
South Valley Services
South Valley Services offers help to victims of domestic violence. Each year shelter, mental health therapy, education, food and clothing is provided for about 285 individuals. It also has a shelter hotline and provides crisis interventions and resource and referral services to nearly 5000 others. Cottonwood provides financial assistance to South Valley Services.
The Family Support Center
The Family Support Center has worked since 1977 to protect children, strengthen families and prevent child abuse. Its four centers offer places of respite for families having difficulty coping with life’s crises. Each year, more than 6000 people receive services.
Presbyterian Education in Pakistan
Presbyterian Education in Pakistan provides good education for children in Pakistan through its Presbyterian schools. Members of Cottonwood’s congregation have personal relationships with these schools and their staffs. Cottonwood provides financial support.
In addition to the organizations listed above, we attempt to answer immediate needs through our contributions to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, by funding Pastor Tom’s People in Crisis fund which provides immediate assistance to individuals in need, and by answering the call of members of the congregation who need help with charitable activities such as the Fistula Hospital project in Uganda. We provide financial assistance to the youth and children of the church for their charitable projects such as Love in a Glove Box, (www.loveinaglovebox.worldpress.org) and we sponsor collections for other organizations such as the diaper drive for the Utah Diaper Bank (www.utahdiaperbank.org). Our contributions to General Assembly support Presbyterian missionaries worldwide and our support of the Presbytery aids rural churches in Utah and Southern Idaho.