by Karina Patman
Sixty-one years ago, several parishioners of St. John the Divine opened a resale shop as a community ministry. The original mission, which has remained strong throughout the years, was “To enrich the community as a Christian ministry and resale shop, dedicated to awarding financial support to organizations that serve the elderly.”
Today, The Guild Shop remains a ministry of St. John the Divine, and their resale model has opened many opportunities across the greater Houston area. Almost 200 active volunteers, an Executive Team, and staff from all faiths, beliefs, communities, and churches, continue to serve this mission. The Guild Shop's reach has allowed them to align with SJD's commitment to being a Light for the City. We do this inside our shop by helping those who seek friendship, purpose, and mission, and by providing opportunities to the organizations we have selected to serve this year to help the elderly in need.
The Guild Shop’s Allocations Team has just announced its first round of grant allocations and will be announcing even more recipients in the coming months. “As long as The Guild Shop continues to flourish, the community will continue to benefit,” said April Lykos, the shop’s Executive Director. “We are now beginning to initiate a partnership with the charities we are supporting. In the past, we’ve given grants rather quietly, but we think it is beneficial to our organization and to our grantees that we become more public about what we and they do to support Houston area senior citizens. We want to help make the necessary range of services available to our fellow citizens and to let them know that these services do exist and are there if or when we need them.”
The Allocations strategy centered on areas the team felt were most needed to support elder care. The categories are food security, mental health/wellness, shelter, and aging in place. Each chosen organization met strict criteria, including audited financials. The Guild Shop also wants to create partnerships with these organizations, which involve ongoing participation and learning to develop The Guild Shop as a philanthropic organization whose giving is direct and intentional.
Grantees selected to receive funds include:
The Houston Food Bank Senior Box Program feeds 11,000 seniors a month. The Guild Shop will contribute to hygiene kits as well as fresh harvest trailer loads of produce each month. Our Guild Shop volunteers will have the opportunity to build Senior Boxes and participate in distribution at various times throughout the next year.
The Turning Point provides emergency and/or transitional housing for seniors who have become homeless. The Guild Shop will contribute to the renovation of several different areas in need to provide dignity and comfort for the occupants of this community. The Guild Shop will also host a drive at the end of summer for basic paper products that are used daily and will continue to support drives throughout the year.
The Texas Ramp Project, a new partner of The Guild Shop, builds ramps for seniors who have chosen to age in place. These ramps allow “freedom” for some elderly to continue to live in their homes and also allow them the opportunity to venture outside their walls. This organization pulls from the community to build ramps that in many instances save lives. The Guild Shop is excited to fund this organization as they continue to make inroads in Houston.
This year’s Allocations Team includes The Guild Shop board members, Karina Patman, Mary Lou Fehr, Jeff Megow, and Executive Director April Lykos plus Guild Shop volunteers Kelly Underwood and Connie Voss and St. John the Divine vestry member Sarah Ray. All allocations recommended by the team were submitted and approved by both The Guild Shop Board and the St. John the Divine vestry in accordance with appropriate requirements and governance.
A check will be presented to each organization sometime in the next few months. We will also offer some opportunities to work with The Guild Shop and our partners in the coming months and we invite the SJD community to get involved! If you would like information on our Allocations Giving, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at The Guild Shop, please contact email@example.com.