Project URGE has assisted with plugging in volunteers to Francis Center, Women's Place, and Sanctuary House, Catholic Family Center homeless shelters to help with sorting clothes, renovations, painting, cooking, and children's programs. Our efforts have also spurred many donations of clothing, food, and materials to the numerous shelters. Catholic Family Center recognized Project URGE in 2004 with the "Faith Community of the Year" award for its service to the Homeless and Housing.
Project URGE has coordinated service days with Williamson High School students in the City of Rochester since 2005: Foodlink, The Pillar, Women's Place, Recovery House of Rochester, Prosper Rochester, Sanctuary House, Mercy Residential, Grace Community Village, Eastern Service Workers Association, Francis Center, Volunteers of America, Risego, His Branches, Parsells Community Church Community Lutheran Ministry, Pathstone, 441 Ministries and many more. A total of about 300 volunteers served, averaging about 50 persons per visit. Typically, we'll meet the bus at the first stop, deliver a brief overview about Project URGE and describe the importance of the work they are about to do. We then escort the bus to each of the facilities, where they are briefed on the purpose of the organization and how the students are about to compliment their mission. The organizations provide the snacks and beverages, while the volunteers bring their own lunches. After the task is finished they return to the school and have discussions and reflections around what they've experienced. This has been a win/win situation for all involved.
We have helped coordinate service projects for students at area colleges (Roberts Wesleyan, Nazareth and R.I.T.), as well as, for the national organization, Lott-Carey, which we placed working in many of our affiliated organizations and others in August 08.
The Kidz Cafe program, once was hosted at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church and headed by Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church's pastor, Rev. Thomasina Owens, benefited from the involvement of 4 churches. At that time, we were able to take children to suburban churches that had gymnasiums about once or twice a month. These churches also shared in the purchase and preparation of food and the children's activities. Additionally, we sometimes picked up children from homeless shelters and brought them to the Saturday morning program. The children were also taken to a Mennonite family farm in Rushville for the day. One summer, donors helped to send a group of children to Three Springs Ministries' summer camp for a week. It has been encouraging and heartening as well, with the Christ-like service and volunteerism that many Churches and organizations have shown with respect to our community kids.
We have set up service opportunities for the Perinton Presbyterian Church's 30 Hour Famine program. Additionally, Project URGE provided information through recommendations and booklet contacts enabling larger 30 Hour events, involving youth from about a dozen churches in Fairport and Penfield to line-up serving opportunities to round out their weekend events.
In the summer of 2007, we teamed up the Work Camp group from the eastern part of United States who served in various capacities over four weeks within many Project URGE affiliates.
Beyond these one day projects there are a number of groups from churches involved in helping out with cooking, conversing, praying and sorting clothes at homeless shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, and working with youth. Some of these groups spawn from churches such as: Fairport United Methodist Church, Crosswinds Wesleyan Church, Church of Assumption, and Browncroft Community Church. You do not typically see stories in the news about these ongoing efforts - some of which have been in progress since the first presentation and bus tour that Project URGE sponsored in 2003. Several of these churches also team up to help those in need in their own "backyard" on a regular basis.
Project URGE also publicizes the need for "back to school" supplies for the ministries of Rochester Family Mission, Community Lutheran Ministry, and Adopt-a-Class program.
In addition, we've had volunteers serving since 2003 on our Jacob's Ladder and Bread Run Teams, which in turn serve many organizations involved with directly serving the under-resourced throughout our community. The primary target areas are in the "poverty crescent" of Rochester.
Our URGEnt Presentation and Tour has also helped introduce a number of people to ways of serving throughout the community, whether it is the homeless, low-income families, summer camps, after-school programs and more.
Churches located in the city that have encouraged relationships and infused volunteers from suburban and rural churches include: Grace United Methodist Church, with their Grace Community Village organization, which offers a multi-faceted ministry approach to the community, Outreach Temple (COGICU), Salvation Army, Catholic Family Centers, West Avenue Methodist Church and in the past, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. We applaud and encourage more churches to be open to partnering. Plain and simple - working together builds strength, which in turn has a greater impact on the community and unifies us in our faith and deeds. It helps create a "we" in Christ, rather than a "me" and draws us back to Ephesians 4.
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the holiness of Christ.”
— Ephesians 4:11-13