First Congregational Church in Stoneham collaborates with and supports missions and social justice programs within our local community, Massachusetts, the United States and globally. We seek to understand where and why needs exist and work with service organizations and individuals in need to make our world more accessible, more equal and more just.
Our service programs focus on providing those in need with food. First Church collaborates with other faith communities to provide a community dinner each week in our Fellowship Hall. Our congregation stocks and operates a food pantry available toStoneham and surrounding area residents. We also provide Bread & Roses, a soup kitchen in Lawrence, with a quarterly hot meal for around 200 guests.
Through our church's mission budget and various fundraising events, we contribute to many programs both near and far. Potential recipients are reviewed each year and monies are allocated as seen most needed by the Missions / Outreach Committee. FirstChurch also supports the United Church of Christ’s “Wider Mission” programs and raises funds for a number of local, regional, national and international mission and social justice programs.
The committee generally meets on the second Sunday of each month following service. The committee also typically hosts coffee hour on the third Sunday of each month to support it's many outreach programs.
The Community Dinner Program is an interfaith program providing hot, nutritious meals in a welcoming environment to members of our larger community. Initiated in 1995 by First Congregational Church, the program is supported by a wide range of churches, businesses, and service clubs in Stoneham. Each Tuesday at 5:45 meals are served to 50-70 guests of all ages by teams from First Congregational Church (Hungry Helpers), St. Patrick’s Parish, First Baptist Church, St. James Methodist Church, and an interfaith team partnering with StonehamBank. Community Dinners also receives generous support from the Rotary Club and others, including Hallmark Health nurses and Excelsior Realty staff, who are actively involved.
If you would like to help by joining one of the five teams or by making a donation, please contact Becky Jacques, coordinator of the community steering committee, at 781-438-5596, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the Stoneham Food Pantry is to provide emergency food supplies to residents of Stoneham and surrounding towns who need a helping hand, regardless of religious affiliation.
Who We Serve
Clients are made up of residents from Stoneham, Wakefield, Melrose, Reading, Woburn and Winchester who have fallen on difficult times due to job loss, illness, age or economic conditions.
The food pantry is open on Tuesdays. Clients may visit the food pantry once a month. Each client is given a scheduled appointment time to select their groceries. Clients must call the church office at 781-438-0097 to schedule a monthly appointment time.
What We Provide
The food pantry stocks non-perishable food items (soups, stews, pastas, vegetables, fruit, etc.) that are received as donations from local individuals, civic organizations, congregations and businesses. The food pantry also receives food items from the Merrimack Valley Food Bank in Lowell. Our food pantry also offers a limited supply of refrigerated and frozen items such as milk, eggs, cheese, ground turkey and ground beef. Produce items are also available occasionally. As our supplies are primarily based on donations, stock varies from month to month.
The items listed below are most needed this month:
*canned tuna, salmon, sardines
*spaghetti sauce (jarred)
*tomato products; whole peeled, diced, stewed, etc.
*instant & regular coffee
*small boxes of granulated sugar
*mayonnaise, ketchup and salad dressing
*laundry detergent, fabric softener and bleach
PLEASE NOTE: The food pantry must, by law, discard any food items that are beyond the expiration date, look old, have previously been opened, or otherwise just don't look clean or safe. Please make sure that the food you donate is not expired or otherwise unsuitable for distribution. THANK YOU!
The food pantry is managed and staffed by three volunteers, all of whom are members of the First Congregational Church: Lorraine Savage, Executive Director; Sara Thompson, Director; Lynn Haddad, Food Coordinator.
Volunteers are appreciated and welcome to help the food pantry either on an ongoing basis or for special events such as the annual U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier Food Drive.
We are currently in need of one or two people who could assist in the pantry on a substitute basis. We are also in need of volunteer(s) who are capable of lifting heavy boxes to assist with stock rotation at the church and our auxiliary storage site at Stoneham Town Hall. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Sara Thompson at 781-438-0097 or by email at email@example.com
English For All
Stoneham English for All is a community program initiated and supported by Missions at First Congregational Church to share the gift of language with Stoneham residents learning English. We work closely with English At Large to provide tutoring and conversation groups for ESL adults, and to raise money for English literacy projects.
Several members of our congregation serve as tutors for adults learning English, with a wide range of language backgrounds: Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Korean and others. Tutors receive 15 hours of training from English At Large.
If you’d like to become a tutor, or support our program in other ways, contact the program coordinator, Ben Jacques, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at www.englishatlarge.org.