The Branches Outreach 501(c)(3)

Outreach Mission

St. Mary's Thrift Shop

St. Mary's Heavenly Scavengers

St. Mary's congregation gives generously with their time, effort and funds. We are blessed by our congregation and Vestry who help us to accomplish so very much as we strive to live in the light of the Lord's love in this corner of our world. 

A quick summary of St. Mary's outreach can be viewed
If there is one word that can be used to describe St. Mary's, it is outreach. Over the past several years, we have gone from maintenance to mission.
• When Hurricane Katrina devastated Mississippi, our Rector, The Rev. Canon John Sosnowski, and members of St. Mary's joined people from all over the US at Camp Coast Care and spent a week helping people to rebuild their lives and their homes.

• Episcopal Relief and Development was on the scene of the tsaunami and St. Mary's sent $20,000 to help their efforts.

• Homelessness is a widespread issue in Cape May County and St. Mary's is active with Family Promise of Cape May County to form a network of churches to provide a meal and shelter for the night in our parish hall.

• St. Mary's Thrift Shop is doing a booming business providing a much needed resource for clothing, household items and furniture. Its proceeds are used to address initiatives for affordable housing and the needs of the underserved in the County.

• Our Heavenly Scavengers program saves furniture and household items from homes about to be demolished on the 7 Mile Island and nearby communities, and gives these items to people in need. It is easily accessed with its location within the thrift shop.

• Members of St. Mary's have been active with the County United Way at a soup kitchen in Wildwood. They have participated in the hot meal lunch program, by preparing a lunch and transporting and serving it at the soup kitchen in Wildwood.

• In addition, food boxes have been prepared at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter and given to County organizations for distribution.  St. Mary's congregation, with the help of St. Barnabas' parishioners, donate the funds, purchase the supplies and pack the boxes, each providing a complete holiday dinner for a family along with many pantry staples. The Branches serves holiday dinners and supplies "food boxes to go."

• Our Advent Giving Tree has grown to nearly 100 family members on the tree. It now provides an abundance of gifts for each family, along with grocery store food cards from St. Mary's Church.

• Backpacks filled with supplies requested by Cape May County schools are provided and blessed each August for children identified by their schools to be in need, giving these children the supplies they need for the school year. Funds and supplies are donated by our congregation, St. Barnabas Church, our neighbors, our friends, and the community. Checks come in the mail, backpacks arrive on our doorstep, supplies are left in the chapel, our neighbors come through the office door with backpacks slung over their shoulders. It has become a wonderful community effort.

• The Rev. Canon John Sosnowski, was one of the original members on the Board of Volunteers in Medicine.  VIM is a clinic which provides free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured in Cape May County. Many of our parishioners have volunteered at the clinic.

• Outreach funds have been provided to the above organizations, as well as, Seamen's Church Institute, Trinity Hospice, South Jersey Aids Alliance, Legal Aid in Cape May County, The Great Commission Baptist Church in Swainton, Covenant House, Episcopal Relief and Development, Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Caring for Kids, Contact Cape-Atlantic, Family Promise of Cape May County, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Atlantic and Cape May County, Philabundance, Friends of Jean Webster, Brendan Borek High Tides Memorial Fund, UNICEF, Children's Fresh Air Home, and Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

• The Rev. Victoria Pretti and her husband, Anthony Pretti,  encouraged our members to particpate in Habitat for Humanity.  St. Mary's choir, church school and members joined Mother Victoria and Anthony by sponsoring studs for Habitat.

• The Branches is now our largest outreach program. Please see The Branches page to read about the good work being done at The Branches. In addition, The Branches Center of Rio Grande has it's own website which can be accessed here.