Our parishioners use their time and talents to help many local groups. We also reach beyond Huntsville in numerous ways, for example, making several work party trips to help Katrina victims. St. Thomas members also established Special Session, a camp for the mentally and physically challenged at Camp McDowell, that has now become a Diocesan ministry.
St. Thomas is a caring church with a warm heart and a generous hand in support of those less fortunate. We devote a big share of our outreach energies to local programs and organizations serving those in need. Notable among them:
- We support Habitat for Humanity in partnership with other local churches to fund and build a house each year. A portion of the profit from our annual Lobsterfest benefits Habitat.
- CASA Temps, an annual one-day effort to assist those needing help preparing their homes for the colder months.
- Meals on Wheels, a program that provides a warm meal and visit to many shut-ins in Huntsville.
- First Stop—our community’s response to the homeless—receives financial support, bi-weekly meals, meal packs and warm clothing for the colder months, as well as operations counseling.
- Mountain Gap Middle School Mentoring Program, a continuing effort to tutor and support challenged seventh and eighth grade students prior to them moving into high school.
- The Servant’s Closet, food collection in support of our local food pantry.
- Aquarius Club helps provide lunches for mental health patients.
- Special Children’s Christmas Party, a St. Thomas tradition and the highlight of the Christmas season for dozens of physically and mentally challenged children in the Huntsville city school system.
The Bailey Cove Farmers’ Market at St. Thomas is Southeast Huntsville’s Saturday open-air market offering locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, flowers and other locally-produced products. It is a ministry for our community and the farmers of our area.
Of course we have Lobsterfest—a weekend fundraising event held at St. Thomas every fall since 1994—to raise funds for Habitat, First Stop, Haiti and Honduras. We prepare live lobsters flown in from Maine, along with traditional southern barbeque, and our buildings are filled with craft sales, a bake sale, and kids’ games that spill out onto the grounds. In addition to raising money, Lobsterfest opens our doors to the local community, allows the community at large the chance to see what we are like, and gives our parishioners a chance to work together on an event that requires months of planning and effort. Each year Lobsterfest raises more than $20,000 for outreach.