With the goal of making service simple, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and its Open Door Church campuses invite the public to join in serving on 33 projects on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30 — its ninth annual Compassion Weekend. This year, there are opportunities for 4,500 volunteers to participate. To sign up, visit http://cw2014.org.
Instead of attending church that weekend, congregants participate in service projects throughout the Bay Area. In 2013, 4,000 volunteers worked 3-4 hour shifts on construction, medical, educational, beautification, and humanitarian related projects. Compassion Weekend expenses for supplies and materials are funded by MPPC’s Christmas offering which raised $400,000.
New projects in Menlo Park this year include a project with the non- profit Feeding Children Everywhere to make meal kits for hungry children and their families, and a project with InnVision Shelter Network at Haven House Family Shelter to install a new floor and spring cleaning of the facility.
Compassion Weekend was created in an effort for the church to better understand and engage with its local community. The 33 projects, many of which are suitable for families and children, support the church’s key focus areas — education, poverty and human trafficking.
This year there is an emphasis on local hunger and poverty. “You can’t always see it, but right beneath the surface there are great needs in our local community,” says Mark Swarner, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Mission Pastor. “About 7% of the population in San Mateo County lives below the poverty line. An estimated 1 in 4 individuals is at risk for hunger, which is higher than the national average.
“MPPC has been engaged in communities of the Bay Area for the past 140 years, and we continue this legacy with our ninth year of Compassion Weekend.”
Photo of 2013 Compassion Weekend participants working on garden installation and beautification project at Taft Elementary School in Redwood City.by Timotius Tjahjadi