GOYA & The Community Dining Room
Since 2008 members of the Saint Barbara GOYA have been volunteering their time preparing and serving meals for families at The Community Dining Room in Branford, under the guidance and leadership of Michele Papadimitriou, whose tireless efforts, enthusiasm and culinary creativity spearhead our GOYA’s support of this ministry.
The Community Dining Room is a place where those who do not have enough food to eat can come and be provided a freshly prepared meal, as well as a warm, comforting, nurturing and uplifting environment in which to enjoy said meal. However, The Community Dining Room cannot open their doors unless there are volunteers like our GOYAns, preparing, serving, and cleaning up after the meal.
Over a four hour timespan the food must be prepared; the tables set; each course served - typically salad, main course and dessert; each table cleaned; dishes washed; and the kitchen back in order, to the way it was found upon arrival.
The look of joy on people’s faces when they taste what our GOYAns have prepared, is immeasurable. The GOYAns have experienced people “happy crying” because their food moved them so. The volunteers have had people, on multiple occasions, come into the kitchen to personally thank them. The reward that comes from this experience is powerful because you can see the light you bring to the lives of others.
In recent months, we have opened this outreach ministry to other members of our parish. We invite all to join us in this wonderful outreach program. To volunteer please feel free to reach out to Michele Papadimitriou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Your Own Scarecrow Booth at Bishop's Orchards
The Community Dining Room in Branford hosts many fundraising events throughout the year to raise money to assist their mission; providing food, support and companionship to Connecticut residents living on the shoreline. In addition to cooking and serving meals on a monthly basis members of our GOYA volunteer and run the “Make Your Own Scarecrow” booth at Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford.
The event serves as one of the major fund-raisers for the C.D.R. and a tremendous amount of fun for all who participate. Bishop’s Orchard provides the space for the booth and the hay, others donate clothing and other necessary materials, and on Saturday, October 1st, our teenagers provided the enthusiasm and know-how assisting children in making a one-of-a-kind scarecrow for their homes.
Parish Missions Walk
Each year in the fall the Saint Barbara parish hosts a "Missions Walk" to support the work of the Orthodox Christian Missions Center.
Parish Work With Local Special Olympians
Members of the Saint Barbara Parish have hosted numerous events together with local Special Olympic Athletes. We continue to also host various events throughouy the year.
Orthodox Appalachia Service Project
Members of the Saint Barbara GOYA along with adult leaders have traveled for the past several summers to the mountains of West Virginia, in conjunction with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to spend a week working on various projects at several homes; assisting low income families living in Appalachia.
The mission trip provided life changing opportunities for the volunteers, as they had the opportunity to get to know families they were assisting, while accomplishing assigned tasks over an exhausting and exciting week.
The group represented seven parishes from the American Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese, the Orthodox Church in America and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, led by Fr. Luke Mihaly of Holy Trinity Church in Danbury, Connecticut. They trained for six months in preparation for the trip, by participating in scripture study, sensitivity instruction, and construction and safety skills, preparing for the opportunity to put their faith to work serving others.
ASP has been in existence since 1969, has worked with over 377,000 volunteers, and has repaired more than 17,300 homes. This track record was a huge factor in deciding to work with ASP. They were able to walk us through so many of the logistical aspects of the trip. They organized everything from the housing (an elementary school where classrooms were turned into our barracks for the week), to the house repair projects we’d be working on. They provided the materials we needed for the projects and organized several evening cultural activities for the volunteer groups.
We give thanks for the good works done in the Lord’s Name.
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