The people of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church collaborate with area charitable and civic organizations through our Matthew 25 outreach. The mission of the Matthew 25 ministry is to reach out and lend a helping hand to our neighbors according to the Gospel of Saint Matthew, which reminds us to minister to the sick, hungry, naked, homeless, and imprisoned. Parish-wide volunteer and fundraising drives occur during Lent, September, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Instead of duplicating efforts, Holy Trinity aims to support existing outreaches in our immediate area, establishing strong connections for a sustaining impact.
These relationships are fostered and grown from Trinity House. Located at 123 S. Sparks St., in State College, Trinity House is our base of operations for ministry to the town and gown communities of Centre and Synder Counties. Here are just some of the many organizations that the parish contributes time, talent, and treasure to:
Strawberry Fields is Holy Trinity’s longest partner in ministry to the Centre Region, a relationship that has been sustained for decades. Founded in Yarnell, PA in 1972, Strawberry Fields continues its long 40+ year history of serving the community by providing quality community-based and residential services to children and adults with disabilities. Several annual drives at Holy Trinity support Strawberry Fields’ outreach, including the Back-to-School (August), Thanksgiving (November), and St. Nicholas/Angel Tree Drives (December) which provide school supplies, full holiday meals, and gifts, respectively, for Strawberry Fields’ clients.
Housing Transitions provides housing programs and supportive services to those in need throughout Centre County. Holy Trinity’s partnership with Housing Transitions goes back to 2011, when the Church School raised money for the shelter at its first annual “Soup-er Sunday” charity luncheon. Now Holy Trinity’s Homeless Ministry provides and shares a home-cooked meal with the residents of Centre House monthly and the parish continues to raise money to meet the daily needs of those seeking permanent housing.
Out of the Cold (OOTC^3) is a community supported organization that serves those experiencing homelessness in the Centre Region by providing shelter, food, and support services during the transition to permanent housing. Even though the parish’s own facilities currently do not support overnight accommodations for multiple guests, Out of the Cold was the beneficiary of the 2018 Matthew 25 Lenten Drive, and receives annual funding from the parish.
The beneficiary of our Matthew 25 Lenten Drive in 2019, Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) is a free medical and dental clinic. CVIM provides access to primary and preventive medical and dental care for individuals living in Centre County and those working in Centre County who live in surrounding counties that do not have a free clinic or programs to meet their needs.
Holy Trinity’s newest partnership—which began in May 2020 to support those affected by the COVID-19 health crisis—is with CommonFood Centre County. This coalition of food banks, churches, restaurants, grocery stores and other interested businesses and individuals provide resources to under-served and under-employed elderly, single parent families, and low income families in western Centre County and neighboring areas with nutritious food and related services.
Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a non-profit that transforms the first thousand days of life for babies born to moms living in poverty here in Centre County and across the United States. Beginning during pregnancy, and until the child is two, nurses visit moms at home to educate them on parenting, share resources, and perform health checks. Holy Trinity’s Matthew 25 ministry provides donations of diapers, health care supplies, and other tangible resources to NFP’s clients so they can help first-time mothers escape poverty and social isolation, and so that their children can break free of the major barriers that prevent them from living healthy and joyful lives.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization with local chapters in all 50 states in the United States, including Eastern Pennsylvania, which serves our area. The organization’s stated mission is to “save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide” and organizes annual Out of the Darkness Walks, in which many parishioners participate.
Lion’s Pantry’s mission is to address and mitigate student hunger at Penn State University Park campus. Its purpose is to help provide sustenance to Penn State students experiencing food insecurity. The organization was selected the beneficiary of Matthew 25‘s 2020 Lenten Drive, but the appeal was interrupted by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Money will be raised and food will be collected the Sundays of October 2020. October is a natural fit for Lion’s Pantry, as it is the month when all the Orthodox Churches in the U.S. recognize and raise funds for college students.
Special Olympics PA provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. These activities give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. Holy Trinity provides a donation each year to support their ongoing mission.
The Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania is a diocese of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. The archdiocese includes 43 parishes in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio, and is headed by His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek (Pleska). It was established in 1916 as a missionary effort of the North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. Holy Trinity and its daughter mission, Chapel of the Holy Spirit, represent the Archdiocese in Centre and Synder Counties and provide significant annual support for its ongoing missionary activity here.
Caring.com is a leading senior care resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses and other loved ones. This organization maintains the State College Senior Care and Assisted Living Guide for members of our extended parish family in Centre County.