FCC members have a history of starting up new charitable organizations, being founders or leaders of Houston Habitat for Humanity, Westside Homeless Partnership, The Woods Project, the Third Saturday Meal (aka Poimaino) and Settegast Heights Village.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we have a full list of service opportunities to help those in need at this time. If you would like more information about getting involved in the next opportunity, contact us below.
Below are examples of how FCC members are investing their time, talent and treasure. If you would like to offer your services in support of any of these mission opportunities, you can speak with one of the church staff or a member of the FCC Board of Missions.
Back Bay Mission is a UCC sponsored organization which meets the urgent needs of those suffering from poverty and its effects while building pathways to social justice. They lead the way in delivering services, creating collaborative solutions, and transforming lives through mission immersion experiences. Supported by FCC since the ‘60s, FCC currently provides an annual donation to the organization and we periodically organize a Youth Group or adult mission trip to Back Bay.
BakerRipley has built communities and community centers in under-served neighborhoods throughout the Houston area. From these centers they have provided early childhood education, youth programs, immigration services, adult education programs, job training and a host of other services that bring opportunity to diverse neighborhoods in Houston. Currently, during the COVID 19 epidemic, they are hosting large food distribution events in some of their neighborhood centers.
This is a restorative justice program for incarcerated individuals facilitated by volunteers. By hearing firsthand how a crime impacts not only the individual victim but their families, friends, and communities, the eyes of inmates are opened to the far-reaching effects of crime. The objective is to reduce the recidivism rate, reduce the number of crime victims, and enhance public safety. The spiritual mission is to minister to victims and offenders to show them the transforming power of God’s love and forgiveness. FCC provides financial support and volunteers.
This Catholic charity provides hospitality and services for immigrant women and children, especially serving pregnant or physically battered women and their children or those whose husbands have been deported.
East Spring Branch Food Pantry, located at Holy Cross Lutheran Church (at the corner of Westview Drive and Wirt Road), provides food free of cost to families in urgent need. It is a completely volunteer organization, so is always in need of volunteers and welcome you to contact them about regular, ad-hoc or special project opportunities. FCC provides financial support and FCC members participate at the ESB Food Pantry as part of our First Friday volunteer program.
ECHOS (Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services) is a Houston based non-profit in Southwest Houston that provides a wide range of health and social services as well as a food pantry for immigrant and low-income communities. FCC supports ECHOS with funding. You can volunteer here to help with food distribution that they do every Tuesday morning and for packaging and preparing that food for distribution on other days. You can also check out their Facebook page here.
EMERGE prepares high-achieving low-income students to attend the nation’s top colleges by providing a holistic, developmental college readiness curriculum. EMERGE Fellows participate in after school programming bi-weekly and weekend workshops from sophomore to senior year and have the opportunity to attend summer college workshops hosted at selective institutions. EMERGE continues to provide support to students throughout their college journey so that they persist through graduation. FCC provides financial support to EMERGE.
FCC Be a Good Samaritan (BAGS)
Launched at FCC in 2013, this program provides empty gallon sized bags, and literature, which gives information about homeless support organizations. Church members then fill the bags with bottled water and easy to open food. They can then have the food and information ready and easily available when they encounter people in need.
The members of FCC have provided an Endowment Fund, which provides monetary grants to support non-profit organizations and community programs. Examples of grants include: Slumber Falls facility improvements, FCC Arts With a Mission program, FCC Music in the Community program, Raise Up Families, The Woods Project and many others.
FCC Outreach to Houston Homeless
Traditionally each Christmas Eve FCC donates the offering taken at the worship services to Houston homeless. Different charities have been chosen including SEARCH, Star of Hope Mission and Casa Juan Diego.
FCC Pumpkin Patch
Since its beginning in 2017, FCC has had a successful Pumpkin Patch in October. The neighborhood loves seeing the cheerful pumpkins on our lawn, and we raise funds for our Youth Program from selling pumpkins into the community while projecting our welcome. Volunteers are needed to unload the pumpkins and sell them each day between receiving the delivery and Halloween. Selling pumpkins is a perfect afternoon task for retirees. It involves having a good eye for a nice pumpkin and the ability to smile at babies.
FCC Special Benevolences
FCC members contribute to the FCC Benevolence Fund, which is used to help support individuals in times of crisis. As an example, during Hurricane Harvey significant funds were disbursed to assist those severely impacted by the floods.
FCC Taste of Heaven Soup Kitchen
This is a longtime FCC undertaking where church members gather in fellowship once a month on a Saturday morning to prepare wholesome and tasty soup from scratch. The soup is prepared, frozen and taken to the Fair Haven Food Pantry for distribution. The Fair Haven Food Pantry mission is to provide emergency food assistance to persons in the Spring Branch/ Memorial area until until food assistance is no longer needed.
FCC Youth Mission Projects
Each year FCC youth undertake various mission projects. Many of the projects are local, but often they go on mission trips to serve people in different parts of Texas and other states. The youth take part in fundraisers and planning for their mission projects, and travel in chaperoned groups. There are also intergenerational projects where parents and other adults join the youth in their projects. Adult volunteers are often needed.
Fruit Share Houston is a local non-profit that rescues local fruit, which would otherwise go to waste, to share with people in need. Realizing that homeowners often can’t keep up with the surplus of fruit produced by their fruit trees, Fruit Share’s team of volunteers mobilize and pick this fruit and bring it to local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Fruit harvest season typically lasts from November through March. Several FCC members participate in these harvests and, as part of a Mission Board project, a group of FCC members harvested 1100 lbs. of fruit in one day this season!
There are over a million people in the Houston area who are food insecure. The Houston Food Bank is the largest organization which directly provides food and meals to those in the city in need. FCC supports the Houston Food Bank through volunteering and with financial and in-kind contributions.
In the 1970’s, FCC’s Carl Umland was instrumental in helping this volunteer organization gain momentum in Houston. Through Habitat for Humanity, groups sign-up to assist in the construction or repair of a home. As a congregation we have been active as board and committee members. And we have volunteered our time and donated resources for several projects over the years.
FCC joins with other area Open and Affirming UCC Houston area churches to reach out to the LGBT community at Houston’s Pride Festival with an information tent and parade float. Extending a welcome to our church family in this way is coordinated by FCC’s Board of Church in Society.
Kid’s Meals primary year-round mission is to feed children under age 6 who are at a critical developmental stage, but don’t have access to school-based meal programs. On school holidays, they expand their service to include the school-aged siblings of these children. During COVID they have needed to deliver up to 7,400 healthy meals per day and require up to 50 volunteers per day to make this happen. Volunteers are needed to make sandwiches and prepare lunches for delivery, to assist with incoming deliveries, to load the delivery vans and to deliver the food.
Literacy Advance transforms lives through their free adult literacy programs. Volunteers are trained to teach ESL in a classroom setting, or tutor non-reading adults individually. In addition to their regularly scheduled classes, LA offers supplemental classes, which focus on specific areas such as computer skills, conversation practice, or job readiness. FCC supports Literacy Advance financially and with volunteer instructors. In 2018, Literacy Advance became part of Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM), a nonprofit agency that has been supported by FCC since the 1980’s.
The purpose of MAM is to help families and individuals who find themselves in temporary crisis and in need of assistance to maintain self-sufficiency and avoid homelessness. MAM provides emergency and financial assistance and other educational programs designed to put families back on their feet. FCC members volunteer their time working at the thrift shop and we conduct annual fund drives to purchase school uniforms and school supplies for local students.
This program was originally launched by members of FCC as Westside Homeless Prevention. The organization exists to empower homeless families in Houston’s Spring Branch and surrounding areas to achieve self-sufficiency and a stable home environment, one in which their children have a better chance at academic success and brighter prospects for the future. WHP’s assistance includes intensive case management, resources, and supporting services that, together with the families’ own personal efforts, education, and growth, make lasting changes that transform their lives. FCC continue to provide board members, financial support and promote volunteer opportunities such as support of case workers, lunches when school is out or meetings are planned, stuffing backpacks for school, aiding in summer camps, fundraising projects and others.
The purpose of Rebuilding Together Houston is to provide low-income elderly, disabled, and veteran homeowners with critical home repairs, accessibility modifications and energy-efficient upgrades. Self-managed crews are led by volunteer crew leaders who organize the build, determine the necessary materials and recruit other volunteers. FCC is planning a church-wide project, but individuals can also volunteer directly for projects and dates listed on the organization website.
SEARCH provides food, showers, shelter, job training, assists with job applications, and provides an address for those homeless who are seeking employment. Associated with SEARCH is the HOUSE OF TINY TREASURES, a quality children’s day care facility for those participating in the SEARCH program. At one time, this was the only day care center in Houston for homeless children. FCC provides financial support.
Settegast Heights Village, a low-income housing project in east Houston, is owned by the Houston Association UCC and run with HUD monies. FCC members have served on the SHV board for many years, and our volunteers have helped to provide turkeys at Thanksgiving and gifts at Christmas for the 400 children and their families at this low-income housing development. The idea of building Settegast Heights began at FCC and is supported by other UCC churches.
Mentors in Spring Branch ISD assist students in grades 3-12 by offering guidance, encouragement and support. They provide young people with the skills needed to address personal, school and home issues that may discourage them from reaching their potential. In just 30-60 minutes weekly, mentors supply the gift of hope to those they touch and give young people a vision of success. Some mentors are very experienced, having worked with students for years. While experience is not a prerequisite, enthusiasm and dedication are! For many years multiple members of FCC have mentored low income students through this program.
Star of Hope also provides food, shelter, and counseling for Houston homeless men, women and children. Star of Hope encourages positive life changes through programs in spiritual growth, education, employment, life management and substance abuse recovery. FCC provide financial support and donations in kind.
Founded in 2008 by an FCC member, The Woods Project’s mission is to create wilderness education and exploration experiences that develop critical behaviors needed for disadvantaged students to achieve success in school and life. FCC members donate their time and resources to this organization, including preparing for and going on wilderness trips with the students.
As a congregation, FCC members contribute financially to UCC national ministries through what is known as Our Church’s Wider Mission. This includes annual donations to: Neighbors in Need (supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the U.S.), One Great Hour of Sharing (overseas missions and disaster relief), Strengthen the Church (expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations), and Veterans of the Cross (pension fund for retired clergy).
This UCC-sponsored ministry partners with the Presbyterian Church USA and Disciples of Christ. It aims to provide multi-faceted opportunities for students, staff and faculty to explore progressive Christianity and examine their faith in a safe, non-judgmental environment at colleges and universities in Houston. Based at the University of Houston, UCM provides opportunities for spiritual nurture, worship, fellowship and service. FCC participates by contributing financially and providing volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors, provide lunches and dinners, and serve as mentors and auxiliary campus ministers.