Sister Robin’s Street Market
First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale has been supporting and partnering with Sister Robin’s Street Market since the end of March 2020. Rev. Nic Merchant received a call from Robin Haines Merrill letting him know that she and a small team were gathering on the corner of Tarpon Drive several times a week to give free fresh vegetables and fruit to those in need with a drive-by market. The original target community to assist was all the restaurant and entertainment workers from Las Olas who suddenly found themselves with no jobs or income. These were our neighbors who have never suffered from food insecurity. As Sister Robin continued to serve and develop community, she reached out to Nic to partner. First Pres has been supporting Sister Robin by opening the use of our facilities and providing volunteer leadership throughout the summer, holding 2-3 Street Markets a week! The church received a $5000 gift from the Entrata Connect Team to continue work in the community, for the Sister Robin’s Street Market.
In September, we were offered USDA Farms to Family food boxes from the Society of Saint Andrews. As of November 15th together we have shared over 7,000 food boxes during weekly distribution to sister churches and community partnerships. Sister Robin’s Street Market and First Presbyterian Church have a commitment to continue this ministry through the end of 2020 and are looking for ways to grow and develop assisting our community in 2021 through Food and Faith.
SERRV International endeavors to eradicate poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers in 25 countries including the USA. The SERRV ministry at First Presbyterian Church raises funds for SERRV International through the sale of the farmers and artisan’s food and crafts.
In 2020, the FPC SERRV ministry generated over $700 through the support of congregation and staff. In 2020, the FPC mission donated $1,500 to SERRV International. These funds will help create recovery and employment for basket weavers in Uganda where domestic abuse has increased during quarantines, for handcrafters in Bangladesh whose suffering through COVID-19 was compounded with a cyclone on May 26th, and for young moms in Chicago who are exchanging poverty for opportunity as they make beautiful candles and for many others. 100% of the funds from FPC SERRV ministry are used for purchases and donations to SERRV International. The 10 volunteers donated only one Sunday this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns. The SERRV ministry requires no additional funding from FPC. SERRV volunteers experience Christian fellowship while using their time to serve others.
In addition to the Presbyterian Mission article, a few other notes about the Facemask project:
- The Facemask Project gave out over 1,000 hours of community service to the church’s middle and high school students.
- An individual in the community (not a church member) single handedly made over 440 masks, which were sent to all the seniors in our church.
- Our first responders and medical workers thought these were one of their best gifts ever. At the time, PPE was scarce and people were reusing masks and gowns. Our masks made them feel so loved and appreciated. And for the people who worked on this project—it gave them purpose and allowed them to serve others which filled them up and gave them comfort during a scary and sad time.
The Craft Ministry
We have made over 2,530 pillows this year. We are still working, so we are still counting. We are happy because we beat last year’s count!
The quilt ministry continued working from home throughout 2020, providing quilts for all the children baptized in the church.
At the start of the pandemic, the pillow ministry transitioned to working from home, from which they have continued making pillows for local hospitals.