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First Presbyterian Church has long been committed to helping those who are less fortunate beyond the church’s walls.  Mission is important to us and there are a number of ways we help those in need – with monetary donations as well as projects as simple as donating food or providing items for a specific need.

Contact Bruce Erwin, chair of the Mission Committee, if you are interested in joining the committee or have ideas on how to help others.


Congregational Outreach – Participation from the Congregation in Projects


  • Food Donations – ongoing

While all food donations are always welcome, the Mission Committee often will issue a plea for specific items during a month, such as cereal, rice, laundry detergent, etc.  These items can be placed in the Mission Cabinet in the parlor at any time; you can be assured they will be delivered to Your Food Shelf in East Camden in a timely manner.


During the Pandemic, a food donation bin is strategically placed outside the Sunday School doors and is emptied on a regular basis with the food being taken to Your Food Shelf bi-weekly.  In response to the tremendous need during the pandemic, the Mission Committee also purchases food from Heim’s in Gloucester City and delivers those items to Your Food Shelf bi-weekly.  


  • 2 Cents a Meal - monthly

On the 2nd Sunday of each month, at the conclusion of the children’s sermon, the children walk around the sanctuary with baskets so the congregation can contribute their coins or bills to a collection based on 2 cents for each meal for the month.  This money most often goes to Your Food Shelf, but has been provided to other organizations providing food.


During the Pandemic, the Mission Committee is sponsoring drive-by collections every other month during the warmer months.


  • Cathedral Kitchen - monthly

A sign-up sheet is in the parlor for 6 people to “register” to volunteer at Cathedral Kitchen (CK) one specified evening a month.  Cathedral Kitchen serves meals to approximately 300 people in an hour.  There are various duties assigned at CK by the staff, including remaining to clean tables and chairs after the patrons have left.


During the pandemic, Cathedral Kitchen is closed for indoor dining and we are not providing any volunteers for their walk-up service. 


  • No Sew Blankets – Several Times a Year

Several times a year, tables are set up in the parlor after worship and teams of people cut and tie the fleece blankets.  These blankets are then provided to Your Food Shelf for distribution.


This project has been suspended during the Pandemic.


  • Shoeboxes - January

Each January, shoeboxes are placed in the parlor with a list of suggested toiletries to be purchased.  Filled shoeboxes are returned within a 3-4 week period and provided to Your Food Shelf and Mission Teens.


This project has been suspended during the Pandemic.


  • Souper Bowl of Caring - February

Souper Bowl of Caring is a youth-based initiative across the nation working to fight hunger and poverty coinciding with the time of the Super Bowl football game.  Our youth choose a theme and promote this event, requesting both cans of soup and money for soup which goes to our own community.  The event is promoted through the month of February.


During the Pandemic, soup can be donated by placing the cans in the food donation bin in front of the Sunday School doors or by financially donating online via the church website.


  • Easter Baskets – March

Approximately 4 weeks before Easter, buckets are placed on a table in the parlor.  Each bucket indicates whether it is for a boy or girl and an age; a list of suggested items to purchase as well as a plastic bag large enough to cover the entire filled basket are provided.  The buckets are provided to Your Food Shelf.


During the pandemic, this project has been suspended.


  • Backpacks - July

In July, the congregation is requested to purchase specific school supplies by taking a card(s) from a special display board in the parlor.  On a specified Sunday, tables are set up in the parlor and an assembly line of helpers fill the backpacks provided with the school supplies.  These backpacks are provided to area schools.


During the Pandemic, funds are requested from the congregation so the Mission Committee can purchase the needed supplies and fill the backpacks. 



  • CROP Walk - October

In conjunction with neighboring churches, we participate in 2 ways: walkers are requested to find sponsors and participate in the walk. Should the walking route passes by our church, we provide water and snacks for the walkers.


During the Pandemic, the walk took place since it is entirely outdoors.


  • Christmas Gifts - November

During early to mid-November, a request is made for new and gently used games and toys for Your Food Shelf.  All items are delivered in a timely manner. 


During the Pandemic, gifts were requested and could be delivered to the church or picked up by committee members.


  • Hat & Mitten Tree - December

Each December, a peg board tree is placed in the parlor and people are invited to hang new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves on it.  These items are delivered to Your Food Shelf after the 1st of the year.


During the Pandemic, the hat & mitten tree was placed on the church lawn on 4 consecutive Sundays so that members, neighbors, passersby could “decorate” the tree with the requested items.


Special Denominational Offerings 


The following special offerings are collected annually at specific times of the year:

  • One Great Hour of Sharing, collected in the spring, is divided between the Presbyterian Hunger Program, the Self-Development of People and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.  
  • The Christmas Joy Offering, collected in the weeks before Christmas, provides funding for the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions as well as to Presbyterian related racial-ethnic schools and colleges.  
  • The Peace & Global Witness Offering, collected in the fall, is divided among the local congregation, presbytery & synod peacemaking ministry and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.


Organizations We Support Financially and with Congregational Participation 


  • IHOC (Interfaith Homeless Outreach Network) Hospitality Network

An intensive, six month long program, whereby IHOC takes up to a dozen homeless men at a time and provides them with shelter and food, housing them with member congregations, while providing regular drug & alcohol counseling and life skills training.  Our congregation members provide dinners and men from our congregation serve as over-night chaperones for a week in the spring while they are housed with one of our sister congregations.


This project has been suspended during the Pandemic. 


  • Interfaith Caregivers

This organization helps seniors and people with disabilities, in Haddonfield and Haddon Heights, live independently and stay active in their communities. Volunteers provide rides, grocery shop & run errands, chat or read to a neighbor, provide a meal after a hospital or rehab stay or just make a brief phone call.  Several members of the congregation serve on the Board, drive and/or volunteer in the office.

This project has been suspended during the Pandemic. 


  • Mission Teens

A non-denominational Christian Discipleship ministry dedicated to helping people who struggle with life-controlling problems and addictions by ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.  They do not charge for their services; all of their support comes from concerned individuals and a few churches.  Although they have centers all over the U.S., their headquarters is in Glendora, NJ.  A member of the congregation volunteers with the organization and requests support from the congregation at Christmas in the form of monetary gifts and items that can be given as gifts for the staff and for those in the program to be able to provide gifts to their families.


During the Pandemic, gifts and donations were requested and received.


  • Urban Promise Ministries

A ministry in Camden that runs after-school programs, summer camps, two schools, experiential learning, job training, and other programs that challenge youth to develop and realize their potential.   Members of the congregation have participated in special Partner Days twice a year at the request of a member who is a volunteer with the organization.

This project has been suspended during the Pandemic. 


Organizations We Support Financially

Through our annual budget, supported by the congregation, we support a number of organizations:

  • Our Denomination’s Mission Work

Included in each year’s budget is money designated for mission work through the General Assembly, the Synod of the Northeast and the Presbytery for Southern New Jersey.

  • Living Waters

Living Waters, a designated denominational mission, is supported in honor of our organist, Mike Rugge, and our former administrative assistant, Joan Rugge, who have made a couple of trips to Cuba with Living Waters.

  • Atlantic City Rescue Mission

Provides shelter, food, Bible study, daily chapel services, drug and alcohol programs, assistance in finding permanent housing, work readiness programs and much more.

  • Camden Rescue Mission

A non-denominational mission, serving Camden and surrounding communities with emergency food, clothing & furniture to help people and families who have been victims of fires, the homeless, abused or mistreated persons, as well as entire families which circumstances do not allow to make ends meet.

  • Alberto & Joann Pagano Ministry

Alberto and JoAnn served in Chile and Central America for more than 20 years before returning to the USA where they are now church planting among Spanish-speaking people in Vineland, and Blackwood, NJ. 

  • Your Food Shelf

In addition to the support we provide Your Food Shelf through food donations, 2 Cents a Meal donations, shoeboxes filled with toiletries, Easter baskets, blankets, Christmas gifts and hats & mittens, we also provide funds through our budget.

Backpacks for Kids

Sometimes families in our local and surrounding areas  lack the financial resources to buy school supplies for their children. Every fall, our church purchases and fills backpacks with school supplies and distributes them to the schools in Haddon Heights, Barrington and Lawnside for distribution to students who need them.

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The mission of UrbanPromise is to equip Camden's children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership. They fulfill this mission through a charter school, after-school programs, and experiential job training. FIrst Pres contributes to UrbanPromise through both monetary support and volunteers.

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Cathedral Kitchen

A ministry of the Diocese of Camden, Cathedral KItchen provides nutritious meals for those in need in North Camden in a welcoming setting. Before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, First Presbyterianc Church members and friends traveled there monthly to volunteer. We are anticipating resuming volunteering in the future.

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Interfaith Caregivers

For more than 28 years Interfaith Caregivers has been helping seniors in Haddonfield and Haddon Heights maintain their independence by providing free ride services to medical appointments, grocery stores, senior centers, and more. First Presbyterian Church is involved with Interfaith Caregivers through monetary gifts, volunteers and clients.

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Your Food Shelf

Since 1980, Your Food Shelf has been helping residents of Camden and the surrounding area avoid hunger. Each year, Your Food Shelf provides emergency food, clothing & household items to 1,500 seniors, families and children in need.

Each food bag distributed provides a typical family of four with three meals a day for three days. In the summer months, our Farmer’s Market offers free, fresh produce to the seniors and families we serve to ensure they have access to healthy foods.

First Presbyterian Church collects non-perishable food items on a regular basis for weekly distributions to Your Food Shelf.  Please contact our office if you'd like to get involved.  

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IHOC (the Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council) was founded by First Presbyterian Church and several other congregations to provide a year-long intensive program of temporary housing, meals, and counseling to enable men to make the transition from unemployed homelessness to employed and living independently. First Presbyterian Church is has helped to support IHOC through housing and meals, as well as with financial support and other volunteer opportunities.

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Mission Teens

Mission Teens, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-denominational Christian Discipleship ministry dedicated to helping people who struggle with life-controlling problems and addictions by ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.  They do not charge for their services; all of their support comes from concerned individuals and a few churches who are sensitive to their work. They have centers all over the United States and their headquarters is located in Glendora, NJ.

Learn More