Downey Elementary School
Downey Elementary is a wonderful but under-resourced school in the city of Harrisburg. A number of Hershey Free folks work or have worked there. Our partnership with Downey Elementary School began several years ago with a project during our Church: Beyond the Walls Sunday. We have continued interacting with the staff and students in various ways since that time. Some of the ways we have supported Downey include Trunk-n-Treat events, donating Care Closet supplies, collecting Box Tops, reading to kids, and sending monthly encouragement cards and treats to the staff.
As we seek to be involved regionally as a church, Harrisburg is one place we can make a difference. Working with Downey gives us the opportunity to help in a location that is culturally different from Hershey but is still nearby. We get to build relationships with the teachers as well as the students and families during community events. Giving support to the staff helps them feel encouraged in an area where there often isn’t much of that.
Throughout the year there will be several opportunities for you to get involved in supporting Downey Elementary.
Love INC of Greater Hershey mobilizes local churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. Together with church and community partners, Love INC helps to facilitate solutions that lift up individuals and families in need. Their vision is to unite Christians in purpose and be fully engaged in actively living out their faith by lovingly serving people in need so that they experience the love of Christ.
Love INC describes themselves this way, "We are connectors. We connect churches to one another and their community. We connect community members to resources. We connect people with God. We create spaces where church volunteers and community members lives intersect and reciprocal transformation and growth can occur."
Throughout the year there will be several opportunities for you to get involved in supporting the mission of Love INC.
Love INC Personal Care Closet
We value partnerships with local organizations that do great work in our community. Love INC works with local churches and the community to facilitate solutions that lift up individuals and families in need and transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. The Love INC Personal Care Closet is one way to get involved and support this local partnership. Throughout the month of March, we will be collecting items for the Personal Care Closet.
Needed items include:
laundry pods and liquid laundry detergent
household cleaners (with screw caps)
tall kitchen trash bags
Donations can be dropped off in the blue lobby.
Local Impact Fund for Transformation (LIFT)
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
Hershey Free Church’s mission in going beyond our walls has two areas of focus. The first is our global focus. We support missionaries and partnerships in countries around the world. Our Global Impact Fund for Transformation (GIFT), a donation-based fund, supports various distinct global projects throughout the year.
The second area is our local focus. You don’t have to cross a border to participate in God’s mission. Each one of us lives in a local community with opportunities to carry the gospel and light of Christ to those with whom we interact. Our vision is for every person at Hershey Free to serve not just within the walls of the church, but to reach out to our community.
God has positioned the people of Hershey Free Church to be involved in many different community organizations throughout our region. We want to enable you to be agents of change and encourage you and the organizations that you support. We want to celebrate the involvement of our congregation as you serve in various organizations that seek the flourishing of our communities.
To that end, Hershey Free Church’s Local Impact Fund for Transformation (LIFT) awards grants to local, non-profit organizations where individuals or groups from Hershey Free actively serve. Grants will be awarded for $500 to these organizations if certain criteria are met, and funds are still available.
- Be a local, registered 501(c)3 non-profit.
- Morally positive as well as being Christian faith-based or spiritually neutral.
- Seek the flourishing of the geographical area of the Hershey Free applicant.
- Not be political in nature.
- Attend Hershey Free regularly and consider Hershey Free to be their home church.
- Be actively serving as a volunteer in the focus organization.
“Actively serving” is defined as the applicant volunteering on a regular, ongoing basis OR leading a group to volunteer together, and having given at least 20 hours of time to the organization in the 6-month period prior to the date of application. A group such as a Live/Love/Lead group can volunteer together to meet this criteria, e.g., a group of five volunteers four hours (5 x 4 = 20). An individual or group may make up to two applications per June 30 to July 1 fiscal year.
- The Hershey Free individual or group leader must complete an online application that includes a description of the organization and how he/she or the group has been personally involved.
- Must be willing to personally deliver the grant to the organization.
1. How do I apply?
Apply using the above link. Paper copies will be available upon request.
2. Who reviews my application?
Applications are reviewed by the leadership of the Beyond the Walls ministry at Hershey Free.
3. How do I know if the organization fits the criteria?
The organization must be a local, registered 501(c)3 non-profit that is morally positive, Christian faith-based or spiritually neutral, and that seeks the flourishing of the community of the volunteer. If you have any questions as to whether the organization meets the criteria, please contact Dave Hyatt.
4. What if I’m not a member of Hershey Free but attend regularly?
You do not need to be a member of Hershey Free to apply. However, we may ask that you discuss membership with a staff member.
5. What if the fund is depleted before I submit my application?
A designated amount will be set aside for this fund each year. LIFT is also a giving fund of the church. To donate toward LIFT, write LIFT on your check or offering envelope, or give online. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the fund is exhausted in a given fiscal year, no more grants will be awarded during that fiscal year.
6. If I volunteer with an organization outside of this geographical area (e.g., a Habitat for Humanity Build in another state), can I still apply for a grant?
No, the grant is intended to act as a catalyst to further partnership and involvement in an organization being used to bless our local surrounding community.
7. I am paid by a non-profit organization. Can I still apply for a grant?
No, these funds are intended to celebrate and encourage volunteer service.
8. Shouldn’t we want to serve without doing it for financial reasons?
Of course!! These funds are to show you that we are with you and want to help bless others through you. We want to affirm those in the church who are serving so well in so many wonderful organizations.
9. Do you have any suggestions as to where I could serve?