Outreach is defined as reaching out to others, or becoming involved in a community or effort; the act or practice of visiting and providing the services (of a charity or other organization) to people who might not otherwise have access to those services.
The Outreach Committee at Mary of the Visitation strives to give members the opportunity to get involved in both our parish community--as well as the community at large--to provide service on a regular basis throughout the year. Some of the outreach activities include:
Giving Tree during Advent/Christmas season –
Prior to Advent, over 12 local organizations that serve the needs in the community will be contact and asked to identify their needs for our support. Ornaments with tags identifing a charity and an item from their needs "wish list" are placed on Christmas trees at each campus. Everyone is invited to take an ornament and return the "wish list" item to either location. These items are then distributed to the organizations the first part of January.
Easter Egg/Lenten Food Drive to support our local food shelves
During the season of Lent, colored Easter eggs are placed in baskets at each campus. Each egg contains a list of suggested food items or an equivalent monetary donation to help provide a meal for a family in need. The egg can be kept as a reminder of the generousness in providing for this need.
Back to School Supply Drive -
Prior to each new school year, boxes are placed at each campus with suggested school supply lists. Donations are accepted and then distributed to each corresponding school to support the need of families who have a difficult time providing these supplies for their children.
Great River Family Promise –
On four (4) separate weeks throughout the year, Mary of the Visitation coordinates with the Lord of Glory church in rural Big Lake to provide meals and housing for homeless families that are involved with Great River Family Promise.
Thanksgiving Food Drive to support our local food shelves -
Several weeks prior to Thanksgiving, brown grocery bags are distrubuted after Mass with a suggested list of needed items for our local food shelves. The food brought back is then distributed to the food shelves to provide for Holiday food baskets.
A group meets a few times a year to make cards which are distributed to parishioners who are 80 years of age or older, as well as those that are in our local nursing homes. Cards are sent for holidays, birthdays and special occasions throughout the year. This is a great opportunity to bring a bit of sunshine into the lives of others.
Feed My Starving Children -
Once to twice per year a field trip is organized to Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids, MN. There we learn more about the needs of children around the world and assist in mass packing of dried meals to be shipped.
Other miscellaneous activities or supports through connections, such as Faith in Action.
The Outreach Committee meets at 7pm on a monthly basis, alternating between the Becker and Big Lake campuses. We are always looking for more ways to expand our outreach and to get more parishioners involved. If you are aware of someone who has a special need in our community, please contact us. We welcome new members to the committee at any time. If you would like more information or would like to get involved in a particular outreach activity or the committee, you may contact Lisa Thelen (612-432-8914) or the office (763-447-3339).