The Angel Gift Tree run from mid-November to December 8, and Fair Trade Sales are held on Sundays in December. Alternative Giving will go from mid-November to December. However, consider donating to or volunteering at one of these organizations all year-round. Scroll down for more information.
Consider a donation to one of the organizations listed below as an alternative to gift-giving.
To give online, simply click here and choose Alternative Gifts in the drop-down menu. Then write in the name and number of the project in the memo line, using the list provided below, and fill in the remainder of the online form.
Otherwise, you can order your gifts in person at the Alternative Gifts table at church on Sunday. They will have a form for you to fill out and will accept checks. Click here for a PDF of the order form.
Those who order at church will have the opportunity to select gift cards, inserts and envelopes to send to family and friends with the notice that a gift has been given in their honor.
Click here to download the Alternative-Gifts-2019-Power-Point
1. A WIDER CIRCLE
WE ARE ALL INTERCONNECTED
The mission is simple: to end poverty for one individual and one family after another. A Wider Circle’s holistic approach focuses on:
- Provision of basic need items;
- Comprehensive workforce readiness;
- Job coaching;
- Wellness programming; and
- Long-term, wraparound support.
- Widening circles of compassion.
Since its founding in 2001, A Wider Circle has served more than 235,000 children and adults across the greater Washington, DC region. AWC receives more than 500 calls for help every day. Board of Directors includes a member of Bradley Hills.
In late 2018, A Wider Circle launched its Partnership to Independence. There are endless ways to volunteer through a Wider Circle. See www.awidercircle.org.
Photo Credit: A Wider Circle. Genora is happy about her new bed!
2. DENNIS AVENUE – HIV/AIDS CARE AT THE HEALTH CENTER
The Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring serves clients with few financial resources who are living with HIV/AIDS. Most arrive by bus and often need assistance with the fare. Gifts assist parents who are ill and struggling to meet the daily needs of their children. Financial contributions go into a special client fund that allows the social workers to provide small amounts of assistance with groceries, transportation and emergency needs. In addition to holiday gifts, BHPC also provides a few new coats and warm gloves for some of the families served by the Dennis Avenue Health Center.
To learn more about the Dennis Avenue Clinic, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/Program.aspx?id=PHS/PHSHIVServices-p274.html#
3. THE WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE
HIV/AIDS CARE AND SUPPORT NETWORK
The Women’s Collective (TWC) meets the needs of area low-income women living with/or at risk for HIV/AIDS by addressing health and wealth disparities, reducing barriers to care and services, and strengthening networks of support in order to improve health outcomes and quality of life. Education sessions have been added for youth that emphasizes safer intimate relationships.
The Angel Gift Tree supports the Women’s Collective by providing gifts for many of TWC children. Bradley Hills also offers financial support through individual donations made through the alternative giving Christmas program.
Financial gifts help these women in a variety of ways: supporting transportation to medical appointments; paying for HIV testing, and providing grocery gift cards.
To learn more about TWC, visit www.womenscollective.org The photo shown above is provided courtesy of the Women’s Collective
4. PUERTO RICO – HURRICANE CLEAN-UP
SUMMER MISSION TRIP 2020
Bradley Hills is sending a team of volunteers to Puerto Rico for a week in June of 2020. They will work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to help rebuild lives and hope in the midst of storm clean-up. Their work and relationship-building on the island will benefit them in unexpected ways, while also being of tremendous benefit to those receiving assistance in Puerto Rico.
“In solidarity with our Puerto Rican church family, we call upon the whole church to pay attention to what is being revealed. We urge the whole church to continue to work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance as they support the island’s recovery?
The photograph is from the 2018 work trip to the Guyan Valley in West Virginia.
Quotation is from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
PARTNERSHIP IN UGANDA FOR 16 YEARS!
BHPC’s Joy Panagides and Bonnie Holcomb first visited Buyobo in 2003 to complete a health assessment of the area. This grew from family ties of church members Edith Mafabi and June Kyakobye. Buyobo-Buteza’s Community Development Association, Bulambuli Widow’s Association, BHPC and the Women’s Microfinance Initiative (Robyn Nietert) continue to work well together. The outcomes of their efforts are recognized by regional and national authorities
5. UGANDA – FIRST AID KITS FOR BUYOBO
The Village Health Teams need help keeping their first aid kits up-to-date and fully supplied. Whether treating a simple cut, an infected mosquito bite or a severe injury, a fully equipped first aid kit makes all the difference. Steps are being taken to maintain these kits in ways that are sustainable for the local community.
6. UGANDA – HEALTH CARE WORKERS – NEED FOR RAIN GEAR
The Village Health Teams program is staffed by volunteers who walk and ride bikes to deliver help to remote areas. Rain boots and other rain gear are a vital way to recognize the dedication of these volunteers. The boots are essential in the rainy season and they also provide protection from snakes. The importance of training, nurturing and equipping all front line health care workers is increasingly recognized. Alternative giving donations are essential in providing the rain gear.
7. PEACE IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE – NSL
NEW STORY LEADERSHIP
NSL equips a new generation of Palestinian and Israeli change agents with the tools needed to create social, economic and political change in the region. The Summer Program is at its core.
- Delegates live in Palestinian-Israeli pairs with host families in the DC area for 7 weeks. BHPC families are encouraged to become hosts.
- Delegates have work-placements in the offices of Representatives and Senators and in other high-level organizations.
- NSL delegates use the Narrative Method to craft their personal stories of struggle and hope. Delegates share their stories at speaking engagements on Capitol Hill and across DC.
- Each delegate arrives in Washington, DC with a proposed Project for Change (PFC). Working together in Palestinian-Israeli teams, they collaborate on joint social impact projects.
8. GAZA HEALTH CARE/AL AHLI ARAB HOSPITAL
U.S. cuts in aid are deeply felt across Gaza. Staff cuts directly impact patient care. This comes atop years-long restrictions on the movement of people and materials in and out of the city. Electricity, medicines, food, fuel, and personnel are all restricted.
In November of 2019, news out of Gaza and Israel has been tragic. 34 Gazans have been killed and over 100 wounded. 53 Israelis have received medical treatment. A negotiated cease-fire is in place. Pray that violence does not reignite.
In the midst of everything, Al Ahli Arab Hospital strives to offer some of the finest medical care available in the region. For example, the hospital runs completely free of charge a program for early detection of breast cancer among women above 40 years of age.
Two programs deserve special mention but continue to be at risk: the center for elderly women; and the mobile clinic program which twice weekly provides free medical care and food to people in surrounding towns, as well as to many who are still displaced by the extreme bombings in 2014. In a land where hardship is commonplace, the conditions in Gaza stand out, but Al Ahli Arab Hospital stands as a beacon of peace and hope for the people it serves.
Our connection to the hospital is through Jeanne Tustian and the Episcopal Diocese. According to the latest email from November 15, “Gaza is full of fear and this has further strained the deteriorating humanitarian situation.”
Photo provided by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
9. MEXICO – KIDS FIRST
Orthopedic Care and Surgery
The Kids First team consists of surgeons, anesthesiologists & nurses who specialize in orthopedic surgery. All are pros who donate their time and expertise. Kids First visit Mexico every year in order to provide free life-changing orthopedic care to children in the state of Guanajuato who live with deformities caused by injury, illness or incurred at birth.
Each May, approximately 245 children are evaluated in the clinic. Each summer, the team performs surgery and follow-up care for an average of 150 children who otherwise would not receive this life-enhancing medical care. These kids come mostly from families that rely on subsistence farming. There is no safety net for most Mexicans in the region. There are no local orthopedic surgeons in the town served by Kids First.
Translation is key to the success of Kids First. The language barrier is handled beautifully by volunteer translators. Barriers drop with sympathetic hugs and smiles.
In this era of so much spewing of hatred across our borders, the care embodied by Kids First is a breath of fresh air.
$1 allows $23 of equivalent care. Club foot surgery in the US costs about $4500. KidsFirst can do it in Mexico for $195. Repairing a crooked leg from rickets costs about $3750 in the US. In Mexico, KidFirst can do it for $160.
See www.kidsfirstortho.org for more details & the link to the blog.
BHPC’s Myla Williams brought this to our attention. One of the surgeons attended Duke University with Myla. All photos provided by KidsFirst.
10. DARFUR – LITTLE RIPPLES – Early Childhood Education in Darfuri Refugee Camps
Little Ripples is a preschool program tailored to 2-to 6-year-olds who have been exposed to severe trauma. It plants the seeds of education, peace, and hope for children, their parents, and the entire community. The first Little Ripples school opened in Goz Amer refugee camp in Eastern Chad in 2013 The goal of Little Ripples is to serve all of the children in Goz Amer and Djabal refugee camps. In order to seek out even the barest necessities of survival, the parents must leave during the day, forcing them to leave their children behind without proper care and exposed to great physical danger. There are approximately 8,000 preschoolers in these two camps. The project has now shifted to a home-based model called Little Ripple Ponds, seeking to impact more children, even closer to “home.”
Bradley Hills and Bethesda Jewish Congregation have jointly supported efforts for justice in the Sudan/Darfur region. For many years, the Solar Cooker Project was the project which was emphasized and supported. Now that the food security situation in the Darfuri refugee camps has become so dire, Jewish World Watch has asked that we move our support to the Little Ripples program.
11. GenOUT–CHOIR FOR LGBTQ YOUTH & ALLIES
The GenOUT Chorus is the DC area’s only vocal ensemble for LGBTQ+ and allied youth. GenOUT is an outreach ensemble of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Its intent is to give young LGBTQ+ and allied youth a voice and to connect that voice to the larger community. The ensemble is open to all singers between the ages of 13 and 18. Since its inception in 2015, more than 70 singers from more than 36 schools have participated. In the 2018-19 season, 20 singers from 14 schools sang in GenOUT. GenOUT is non-auditioned. All that is needed is a love of singing and a commitment to using music as a voice for social justice.
Take a look at GenOUT on YouTube. You will feel the sense of welcome and belonging and joy that come with being part of this ensemble of young voices.
These young people work very hard to prepare for their performances and the results of that hard work are moving and evident. Bradley Hills proudly welcomed GenOut to perform at a worship service in 2019. We look forward to welcoming them back to our sanctuary soon.
12. ETHIOPIA/OROMIA – Educating Girls
Resources for the Enrichment of African Lives – REAL
Innovative Approach Supports the Student and the Family
The combination of marginalization, injustices and related poverty, makes life in Oromia, Western Ethiopia, a struggle. Families rely heavily on their girls to contribute labor that helps the family survive, so girls tend to be kept home rather than allowed to leave to pursue formal education.
Education of bright girls is often cut short and dreams for a better future vanish. REAL offers hope through education for girls in an innovative multi-tiered manner. REAL has created a financial and moral support network that sustains education for girls by keeping them in school while providing them with mentors/tutors. The truly creative piece is that REAL also provides a measure of financial support for each girl’s family and her community so they need not suffer from her absence as she strives for a better future. In some cases, REAL assists families to launch income-generating projects to compensate for the absence of their daughters.
The girls receiving scholarship support from the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church Alternative Gifts program have continued to be kept safe by their mentor through these last years of violent, political turmoil.
The top photo is of Shifan, as an 11thgrader. The second photo shows Maheder– a REAL graduate-working as an engineer on a dam project.
13. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Responding to housing needs for disabled individuals
Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (HFHMM) provides housing solutions to residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Families are served through new and rehab home construction, weatherization, and repair programs.
HFHMM’s intent is to build single-family homes that are green and that incorporate universal design (able to accommodate individuals with disabilities and allowing families to age in place.) The universal design details are being brought into the planning process right from the beginning. Two new such homes are planned for Prince Georges County, breaking ground in 2019.
Bradley Hills’ members have supported HFHMM projects through the years, often working alongside our interfaith partners. A church member is on the board of Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland.
For local HFH-MC details, go to www.habitat-mc.org
Above drawing provided by HFHMM
14. ASIA–FORMAN CHRISTIAN COLLEGE (PAKISTAN)
SUPPORT WOMEN’S EDUCATION
Forman Christian College (FCC) offers Muslims and Christians a place to learn together with mutual respect and shared values. College is rare for women in Pakistan. Difficulties do exist for men in Pakistan, but women face greater challenges. Hurdles for rural women are even more significant and are now widely known due to the 2012 attack on Malala Yousafzai. She wanted to go to school and ran a campaign in Pakistan to help girls gain access to education. For that, she was shot in the head. But she has prevailed and become a global example of the difference one person can make – striving for an education.
FCC (founded in 1864 by Dr. Charles Forman, great-grandfather of Doug & Catharine Forman – of BHPC) is known as the “crown jewel of Presbyterian educational mission in Pakistan.” Returned to PC-USA in 2003 after 31 years of government control, it is again being regarded as one of the best colleges in the region.
Women were first admitted to the FCC Bachelors program in 2005. With higher education, women apply their experience and outlook in unique ways, creating a better future for all. The school’s motto is: “By love, serve one another.”
Bradley Hills has created an endowment to support women’s education in Asia and also provides annual support for scholarships through its budget and through the alternative holiday giving program. As of 2019, 11 women at FCC are receiving scholarship assistance as a result of this generosity.
George & Leslye Johnson (BHPC) completed their fourth year of teaching at Forman Christian College in 2014. Photos shown above were provided by Friends of FCC.
15. PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE KITS
PDA Disaster Relief Kits – Gifts of the Heart
PDA responds to natural disasters and human conflicts quickly and effectively. As of November of 2019, PDA is still responding to those suffering due to Hurricanes Dorian and Michael and extensive damage from earlier storms. Its volunteers are on the ground helping in the aftermath of floods in the US and in the aftermath of the horrifying fires in California. PDA also responded, with the help of its international partners, to the Indonesian tsunami, to Super Typhoon Mangkhut and to the intense cyclones that hit parts of the African continent.
The Gifts of the Heart program, which encompasses assembled kits suited to a variety of needs, is a crucial part of that response. Several thousand kits have been distributed overseas and in parts of the US in 2019. Kits assembled by Bradley Hills were part of those numbers. A useful job – well done!
Disaster kits are badly in need of replenishment. PDA relies on help from individual congregations to prepare relief kits. BHPC will be offering an in-house volunteer event in 2020 to assemble Gifts of the Heart. Support provided by the Alternative Gifts process will help us buy needed supplies for Hygiene Kits, School Kits and Cleanup Bucket Kits.
16. BETHESDA CARES – Compassionate & Creative Response
The main office of Bethesda Cares serves as both a Drop-In Center for clients experiencing homelessness and is the site most of the services offered. For five days a week, the Drop-In Center always offers hot coffee, snacks and a respite from the weather. It is a place where everyone is greeted warmly and not asked to “move along.”
The Drop-In Center provides access to the Outreach Team. The team works to move clients out of homelessness. Much is offered to ease the lives of the homeless and the working poor. With the help of local churches, hot meals are offered most days of the week. Other services include vouchers for the weekly shower program and the Clothing Closet – both at nearby sites. The Center holds mail for nearly 400 clients, offers access to telephones and keeps a steady supply of toiletries on hand. When available, they also offer new socks to those who need them.
Bradley Hills was in on the founding of Bethesda Cares and has been an active supporter for more than 27 years. The BHPC Kitchen Ministry program brings volunteers together to prepare and serve one meal per month for the clients of Bethesda Cares.
Photos are from the Bethesdacares,org web page. The second photo shows BHPC’s Robyn Nietert and Sarah Allan.
17. BETHESDA HELP
Volunteers Responding to Neighbors in need
Bethesda Help offers immediate short-term help to local folks in crisis. Help can come in the form of a sustaining bag of groceries delivered by a volunteer, or it can come in a myriad of other ways, including emergency rent and utility assistance, the cost of a needed prescription when a parent is too ill to work, or simply offering a much-needed ride to a medical or therapy appointment.
Both BHPC and BJC, along with other congregations in the area, regularly replenish the Bethesda Help food closet, gaps often occur.
Also, there are times when it is extremely helpful to allow a family in crisis or with special dietary requirements to select a few groceries on its own, through the use of a grocery store gift card. Bethesda Help has told us that having extra funds on hand to respond to these specific needs for feeding the hungry gives them much needed flexibility.
Our own Pastor Gray serves as Officer of the Day once each month. He is happy to share what he has learned by serving in this role. The Officer of the Day typically receives 12 to 25 per day. Each requires a tailored response.
For more information, see www.bethesdahelp.org
Members of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church currently serve as Bethesda Help volunteers.
18. FRIENDS CLUB – ALZHEIMER’S CARE
Located in our building, Friends Club brings together active men in the early-to-mid stages of Alzheimer’s disease in a caring, safe and secure environment. The program meets the social and emotional needs of men who are experiencing memory loss due to diagnosed dementia. Friends Club is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization operating under the auspices of the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church. Friends Club resembles men’s organizations and clubs that a member may have belonged to earlier in life, providing a familiar, non-institutional setting. Participants gather with trained staff and volunteers four days a week to socialize with peers, share common interests and experiences, and enjoy therapeutic, social and physical activities.
Each session of the Friends Club costs $100 per member. Many require scholarship assistance to participate in club activities. Donation options, such as this alternative gifts program, allow individuals to help cover this daily fee. Participation in Friends Club offers the member a quality experience in a caring setting, while providing family caregivers badly-needed respite time.
Note: Friends Club has very specific ways to volunteer. Bradley Hills’ members are among the many volunteers. For more information, see www.friendsclubbethesda.org
19. ALTERNATIVE GIFTS GENERAL FUND
Donations to this fund allow flexibility to respond to the needs of our recipient groups that are not covered by donations specified for those groups. Examples of previous uses of this fund include: Lawrence, a child from Anacostia, was showing up with ill-fitting pants that were tied around his waist with a rope. He also had no socks and his footwear was not appropriate. Within a day, we were able to provide a few complete outfits for him, as well as new shoes; When Bethesda Help ran out of grocery carts, the fund covered the gap for immediate needs; Extra gift cards are purchased to fill in gaps during the Angel Gift Tree process; Dennis Avenue received gift cards, allowing needy parents to buy diapers for their newborns; and, the Women’s Collective received extra coats and gloves during a rough patch of winter weather.
Angel Gift Tree: Gifts for Children in the Washington DC Area
Mid-November through December 8
Make a difference for a local child by purchasing a gift specifically for him or her. You may select a boy or girl by age or by the type of gift the child desires from the table in our gathering space. Gifts support children from:
- A Wider Circle (Rethink poverty/Change Lives)
- The Women’s Collective (for children of parents living with HIV/AIDS)
- Dennis Avenue Health Center (for children of parents with HIV/AIDS)
Olive Oil Ministry & Fair Trade Sales
Mid-November through December 8
Each year, we sell olive oil, coffee, and other Fair Trade products in the Gathering Space after worship.