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3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34239 - Phone: 941-924-1323 - Fax: 941 923-9594

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Back to Basics Tutoring Program
Back to Basics Tutoring began January 1992 as a Church of the Palms mission for the purpose of providing supplemental academic assistance to students. Since that beginning, the program has grown from serving 12 students from 2 schools to 230 or more throughout the school year from many schools in the area. Students are referred to Back to Basics Tutoring by classroom teachers, school principals, school counselors, students, friends and various agencies.

This assistance is provided September through May on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and 5:00-7:00pm on Tuesday through one-to-one tutoring in the Campus Center . Students in grade one through college attend one of the scheduled eight one-hour sessions. During a school year over 5000 hours of one-to-one tutoring will be provided.

Many volunteers not only dedicate a portion of their time but have the expertise to provide tutoring in reading, math, writing, spelling, Spanish, French, history, English, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, biology, trigonometry, chemistry and physics as well do non-tutoring tasks. Each tutor gives his/her undivided attention to the student, helps with the schoolwork, listens intently, encourages the student and genuinely cares about the student. Parents and students often report improved grades and confidence.

Several volunteers significantly contribute to the efficient management of as many as 131 students and almost 100 volunteers each day. These people, check in the students and tutors and make certain each student is matched with assigned tutor, serve snacks, answer the telephone, assist students and tutors in finding learning materials, monitor student behavior at the entrance, operate the computers and organize student folders. They also demonstrate care and concern for each student that they encounter.

Contact: Judy Armitage @ 323-8115, or


Beth-El Farm Workers Ministry
( Mission Peniel in Immokalee)

Beth-El helps farm workers achieve self-sufficiency through opportunities to worship, its extensive educational programs and many services to help meet basic needs. At Misión Peniel in Immokalee, a simple warm meal along with clothing, shoes or hygiene items are provided each Friday afternoon. Many churches volunteer to help on Fridays. In September 2006 they began an outreach ministry. In April 2007, Pastor Miguel Estrada, an ordained Presbyterian from Guatemala , began church services (Misión Peniel) on Sundays. Each week outreach is provided on Thursdays in Arcadia at FPC, Arcadia and a Sunday afternoon worship service at the same location. On our Wimauma campus, we have three important partners: 1) School District of Hillsborough County conducting Adult Education, 2) Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) conducting K-5 Charter school and Migrant Head Start, and 3) Bay Area Legal Services who assist local community members in civil issues.

Contact: Dave Moore (Executive Director)
P. O. Box 860 , Wimauma , FL 33598-0860  
813-633-1548 Email: d


Community Haven for Adults and Children With Disabilities (CHAC)
CHAC is a local nonprofit agency serving the needs of the disabled, from childhood into old age.

Disabled persons served by CHAC:
• benefit from early childhood intervention
• obtain special education services
• develop marketable work skills
• achieve self sufficiency and independence as much as possible
• participate in a fully inclusive life in our community

Church volunteers have worked with disabled persons bused to our campus to participate in crafts, music, drama and games designed to build self confidence and social skills. Because of budget and staff cuts at the agency, we will be taking our programs to the CHAC campus. Volunteers are really needed! No skills required, except the ability to show and receive love.

Contact: Jeanie Starostecki @ 929-9352 or email:


Ending hunger one step at a time is the goal of the annual CROP Hunger Walk sponsored by Church World Service. Church of the Palms is one of more than a dozen churches in Sarasota who join together in early spring each year to raise awareness and funds for hunger relief at home and around the world. For several weeks participants seek pledges for them to participate in a 2-4 mile walk on a Sunday afternoon. One fourth of the proceeds remain in Sarasota, supporting the All Faiths Food Bank. The balance is distributed worldwide by Church World Service to raise awareness and fight hunger. In March of 2011 the church had 17 walkers who raised nearly $2,000.00. For more information check out

Contact Church of the Palms coordinators,
Joan Daly, 544-4370,
or Bill Watrous, 955-4000,

Early Childhood Center
In 1961 the Early Childhood Center began as a Mission of the Church of the Palms. For the past 50 years this program has been providing full time and part time child care for children from the ages of 6 weeks to 5 years old. Funds provided by the Mission Committee help provide scholarships for those with financial hardship. Serving both Church member families and the community at large, the Program provides nurturing care, and opportunity to advance kindergarten and socialization skills in an atmosphere of Christian love and concern.

Information: 921-7892 or
Contact: Lorrie Young 921-7892 or email:


ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization)
ECHO is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian organization located on a demonstration farm in North Ft. Myers. The Global Farm allows ECHO to provide resources for missionaries and agricultural workers in over 180 countries. Each year ECHO provides in-depth training for 10 interns who are preparing for careers in agricultural missions and development. ECHO is dedicated to fighting hunger through innovative ideas, information, agricultural training, and seeds and plants through networking with community leaders and missionaries in developing countries. ECHO seeks to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult situations and conditions. Tours of the farm in Ft. Myers are conducted during the week and on Saturday morning.

Contact: Helen Dickinson @ 923-0125
or email:ECHO @ or call (239) 543-3246

Emma E. Booker Elementary School & Newtown Youth
"You are sent beyond this church by Christ.  See your work as fulfilling Christ's command to serve this world and tell the people Jesus has sent me here to help you."  Rev. Bruce Porter, 10/4/98.  These words live on in the varied mission programs run by the Church of the Palms.  One of the most important programs supported by this Church is the assistance given to children who reside in the lowest income, mostly African-American and Hispanic area of Sarasota called Newtown .  Since 1997, our church has befriended these children and their local schools, Emma E. Booker Elementary and Booker Middle by assisting with purchases of school uniforms, needed school supplies, socks, shoes, and health items.  The women's circles also play a vital role in helping to fill Christmas stockings in Booker Elementary's yearly Santa Program.  Along with the distribution of healthy snacks, Church of the Palms members and families are also active in the Summer Reading/Tutoring Program, in partnership with Brothers & Sisters Doing the Right Thing.

Contact: Dee Webber @ 379-3500 or email:


FISH (“Feel I Should Help”)
FISH is a non-denominational organization that first started in England and soon became international. While FISH is not an acronym, many say it means Feel I Should Help. In the early 1970's, a chapter was organized in Sarasota , with financial aid from our Mission Committee. Ruth Pierce, a member at COP, has been involved with FISH for 35 years, served as president for 15, and is now retired. In July of 2009 she received the “Governors Point of Light Award” for her dedication & work with FISH. The mission is to drive patients for medical appointments five days a week, with no charge. Our big need today is for volunteers: drivers and/or telephone volunteers who work from home.

Contact: Dell McAbee @ 371-5528


Food Pantry
The Food Pantry, a mission supported by the Deacons, supplies food to hungry people in Sarasota . In 2009 14,842 bags of food were given out, averaging 1237 bags a month. This helped over 24,791 people. The food is provided by purchases from All Faiths Food Bank, Save-A lot, produce grown by church members in “His Garden”, and food donated by members of our church. We also obtain bread items from Panera Bread. Funds for this ministry come from the donations of the congregation and a grant that we receive from United Way . The church has an annual food drive, but issues request for items in short supply throughout the year. Teams of volunteers from Church of the Palms distribute the food. One group of teams package the food in grocery bags five days per week, while a second group of volunteers distributes the packed bags each day of the week from the distribution center.

Contact: Pete Nowak @ 924-2350 or


Good Samaritan Mission
Good Samaritan Mission is a mission to the largely Hispanic migrant community located in Wimauma in eastern Hillsborough County , Florida . The goals of the Mission are not only to feed and clothe people, but also to teach them how they can help themselves. It is supported by many denominations and individuals. The Mission is led by Rev. William Cruz and assisted by his wife Theresa. Dr. Douglas Perry was a founding member of this mission. Church of the Palms contributes financially through the Mission Budget. The congregation, Children and Youth organizations, and the Presbyterian Women contribute diapers, school supplies, shoes, food, clothing and household goods.

Contact: Wayne Kindt @ 342-6494 or email:


Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry with a mission “to partner with God and community to provide decent affordable housing for people in need so that they may build better lives for their families. Launched in 1976 Habitat has built over 350,000 homes around the world serving more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities. The Sarasota affiliate was founded in 1985 and since that time has built 191 homes in Sarasota County . Church of the Palms has been involved in the financial support as well as providing volunteer labor.

As costs for constructing new homes escalated in 2006, Habitat partnered with the Newtown Front Porch Neighborhood Revitalization Council to start “ Operation Rehabitat ” to repair and refurbish homes for residents who lacked the resources to do it themselves. Church of the Palms' involvement with Operation ReHabitat started as a result of the 90 Days of Blessing, the "faith in action" component of the Global Day of Prayer. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, approximately 50 Church of the Palms volunteers began to work each Saturday morning throughout the summer on homes of low-income elderly residents in Newtown . In 2007 our Church did a complete renovation; in 2008 another and in 2009 two renovations were completed with 70 church members volunteering. In 2010 the projects changed due to the housing market and Habitat having the ability to acquire foreclosed homes needing partial rehabilitation through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Church of the Palms contributes financially to these projects and has provided more than 55 volunteers and 585 volunteer hours on two homes that will be rehabbed this year. As one volunteer said, "The work is not what I'd call pure fun, but it is pure joy. I love the camaraderie that has developed among the volunteers. I love the short prayer time that allows me and others to really appreciate why we're there. We are the face of a loving and caring Jesus, not only to the family, but also to the neighbors who are probably wondering what made all these crazy strangers show up at the house to work in hot, dirty conditions. Working on Rehabitat has been a time of spiritual growth for me. The pay is great."

Contact: Tom Webber @ 379-3500 or email:


His Garden
“His Garden” is a gardening mission to raise fresh, healthy vegetables to supplement the groceries that the church gives to patrons of the Deacons Food Pantry. The garden is located on the south side of the sanctuary out in the field by the pond. Volunteers from church care for the garden and the Lord has blessed us with a good harvest throughout this past year. We hope to expand the garden in the coming year for even larger crops. Volunteers are always welcome. Many hands make light work.

Contact: Helen Dickinson @923-0125 or email:

Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a program to provide hot nutritious meals to people in Sarasota who need them. These are individuals who are unable to shop or cook meals for themselves because of illness, disability or infirmity due to age or recent hospitalization. The majority receive their meals free of charge; less than one third contribute what they can up to $2.50 per meal. The program receives no government funds. Broad community support is essential to sustain the program. Over 550 meals are prepared and delivered daily. Volunteers are needed to help deliver the meals one day a week, or more.

Contact: Roger Wollstadt @ 925-0454 or email:


Resurrection House
Founded by six downtown churches in 1989, Resurrection House is Sarasota 's only faith-based daytime resource center for our homeless population. Its mission is committed to the alleviation of the suffering of the homeless by providing physical, emotional and spiritual assistance. The ultimate goal is to replace homelessness with hopefulness, and the main focus is on the client's successful return to a productive life.

Some basic services that are giant steps toward progress for those in desperate circumstances are: showers, laundry, caring counseling to include securing an I.D., job-search and housing assistance, in-house medical clinic, clothing, mail service, bus passes, haircuts, use of phone. Presently, more than 225 men, women and children each day seek and receive help. Supported by private donations, RH receives no government funding. Church of the Palms, through our Mission Committee, annually contributes financially to RH. For our Church membership, “donations to RH” is a household phrase. Boxes of donated clothing, toiletries and other items are collected and delivered on a weekly basis. Volunteers are urged to inquire about this very rewarding street-level ministry.

Contact: Keith Hirst @ 921-3213 or email:
Len and Carole Higley @ 379-8331


Salvation Army Angel Tree
Church of the Palms has been participating in this program for many years during the Christmas season. It is one of many different programs that the Salvation Army offers to those in need. Our congregation has opened their hearts and pocket books to put smiles on the faces of children and seniors by giving gifts. Christmas is the celebration of Christ's birth. Jesus came to earth to teach us to love one another, especially those in need. This year we will bring Christ's love through our giving to 125 children and seniors. We have a number of church members that volunteer to help process the families, sort through all the clothing and toys donated to the Salvation Army, then bagging them for children that were not adopted, assembling bicycles, assembling toys and then helping to distribute the gifts to the families. Members of the Church of the Palms also man one of the familiar red donation kettles as “Bell Ringers” during the Christmas season.

Contact: Helen Dickinson @923-0125 or email:

Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast
At Samaritan we seek God's leadership and empowerment to provide a wide range of spiritually sensitive, high quality, cost-effective, behavioral-health services to our community. These services, including mental-health counseling, family life education and consultation, are provided in a compassionate, professional manner and are guided by the values of the Judeo-Christian heritage. In addition to being the founding church, Church of the Palms participates in a variety of salient ways to enable Samaritan to successfully accomplish its mission. Some of the ways Church of the Palms participates include: providing quality leadership through participation on the Board of Directors, helping us to keep our overhead down by providing us free dedicated space and covering the cost of electricity, security, internet access, and some office equipment, offering substantial annual contributions to the Client Assistance Funds, encouragement from many church members, and passing on the community goodwill that Church of the Palms has earned through years of serving the community.

Contact: Rick Howell @ 926-2959 or email:


Time Tithers
Time Tithers is an organization of individuals who have made a private personal covenant with God, promising Him that they will, on average, devote at least one-tenth of their discretionary or “spare” time to studying His Word and doing His work. We strive to use our God-given gifts in service to others. Some of the projects we do to help and serve others in our community include installing grab bars, basic plumbing, Comcast box installation and minor home repairs. We incorporated in 2001 as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit Florida Corporation. The current Board of Directors consists solely of members of Church of the Palms.

Contact: Al Higginbotham 927-8585 or email


Presbyterian Women Involvements
All women who are members of the church are considered to be members of Presbyterian Women and are encouraged to join a circle. Circles provide an opportunity for Bible study, mission involvement and fellowship. Church of the Palms presently has 10 circles. The following list of mission opportunities is not inclusive as the involvement by each circle often changes on a yearly basis. The Presbyterian Women also give financial support to additional missions such as Habitat, Food Pantry, Senior Friendship Center , Crop Walk, Honduran Eye Clinic and Doctors Without Borders to name just a few. One mission event that is ongoing is the “2 Cents a Meal program.

Contact: Alberta Adams (Moderator) @ 924-8464
or email:


Christmas Stockings – Emma E. Booker Elementary School
The women's circles play a vital role in helping to fill Christmas stockings for Emma E. Booker Elementary's yearly Santa Program.

Contact: Dee Webber @ 379-3500 or email:


Duval House
This is a facility for autistic and disabled persons. Women in the various Circles save and collect stamps, Campbell soup labels, tabs from soda cans, ink jet cartridges and cell phones (there are bins in the church office work room). These items are delivered to Duval House where volunteers separate and count them to be redeemed for purchases of equipment, such as new vans, for the facility. They can also use donations of men's and women's clothing, towels, washcloths and toiletries for the residents.

Contact: Gloria Knox @ 371-0848 or email


Palm Knitters
Volunteers sew, knit, quilt items such as baby hats, sweaters, socks, booties, baby blankets, receiving blankets, burping pads, prayer shawls, lap robes, hats for Thornwell Children's Home, helmet liners for the military, quilts for Veterans Hospital, teddy bears for Sheriff's and Police in Sarasota County.

Contact: Alberta Adams @ 924-8464 or email:


Reaching out to Children – Bassinet Ministry
The Bassinet Ministry is a county effort to support health needs of uninsured women through funds provided by grants and by Church of the Palms. Bassinets are purchased and delivered to the Sarasota County Health Department (as part of the Healthy Start program) to be given to mothers of newborn infants to provide for safer sleeping. The number of infant suffocations in the Sarasota area has dropped significantly since inauguration of this program.

Contact: Margaret Edelblute @ 343-9770 or email

Thornwell Children’s Home
Thornwell Children's Home was founded in 1875 to take care of ten children orphaned by the Civil War. Literally thousands of children have been cared for during the past 135 years. Located across the street from Presbyterian College in Clinton , South Carolina , Thornwell is supported by Presbyterian churches and Presbyteries in Florida , Georgia , and South Carolina .

Thornwell serves approximately 100 children annually in their residential program, operating thirteen residentia¬l cottages with six to eight children per home. During the summer, mission groups from all over the southeast can be seen on campus volunteering their time and interacting with Thornwell's children and youth. Children are most often referred by families, ministers, psychiatrists, or therapists. Thornwell accepts physical custody, but does not take legal custody of children.

Thornwell works to reunite children with their biological family whenever possible, and is committed to building strong family ties, and invites families to come and be part of their team effort.

Contact: Alberta Adams @ 924-8464 or email: or Bill Tiller @ Thornwell Home for Children @ 864-938-2715


Children & Student Mission Involvement

Youth Mission Involvement
This year, Student Ministry will be teaming up with the Isaiah 58 project as we seek to serve in our community. Our service projects are designed to bring Middle and High School families together: to grow, learn, laugh and serve together. The Isaiah 58 Project is a program that encourages and facilitates students following Jesus into their communities and serving others. The project offers three different outreach opportunities, encouraging the elderly, preparing and serving hot dogs for the homeless, and adopting a block neighborhood cleanup. Each project is done in conjunction with local outreaches and organizations for students to experience the blessing of service.

The Cry Out for Justice Project is a small group in which high school students are taking a stand for justice. The group members are working together to learn about modern day slavery and exploitation, share what they have learned, and ask for the greater community to join the movement. The students are gaining a culturally relevant and biblical worldview of justice and developing the skills to put that insight into action, culminating with a major advocacy event in March 2011. Four students and two adults from the Cry Out for Justice Project will be attending the Collective Shout Conference given by Love146 in November 2010 in New Haven , CT to further equip them in this endeavor.

Nightlife is a cutting edge student ministry in Sarasota , FL. Its mission is to reach out to at-risk students in Sarasota Country through programs that provide Hope, Innovation, and Resources to youth, families, churches, schools, and other youth organizations. Nightlife's team, led by the Rev. Joe Davis, (Executive Director) includes management and administrative staff, volunteers, counselors and educators. Together, we believe that by providing help, hope and fun for our youth, we strengthen the entire community. We serve as a vital resource and venue for community-based youth organizations, schools, clubs, churches, businesses and non-profit organizations. The center is located at 6240 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota and is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 2pm and on Sunday for brunch from 10am to 2pm. To learn more go to

Contact: Derek Thompson @ 924-1323 Ext. 221

Children’s Mission Involvement
The youngest members of our church school family are likewise active in mission activities at Church of the Palms. The leadership believes this effort is an integral part of discipleship growth and training as they serve alongside the other members of our church. This past year, the 1st through 5th graders were involved in providing and gathering food for the church pantry, collecting shoes for children, and working with the International Heifer project. Their contribution to the Haitian disaster relief effort centered around providing individual care packages for small children on the island. Another new project focused on helping students at a local neighborhood elementary school with clothing items and gym shoes. With Christ as their guide, our kids do make a difference!

Contact: Laurie Haas @ 924-1323 Ext. 223 or


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