first Presbyterian Church

of Cumberland, Maryland
Reason for the Season!
As we’ve learned all too well this year, viruses can spread around the world bringing sickness, increased poverty and hunger, and death. In contrast, what would the opposite look like? A “virus” that spreads God’s contagious love?
Mission is one way to do that. Through “Reason for the Season”, our church has been spreading such a “virus” locally and around the globe for over 20 years. It’s an alternative giving opportunity that can be a donation or a gift to another person. Please prayerfully consider how you can help spread this “virus”.
This year's Reason for the Season giving will be going to these wonderful organizations:

Pakistan Educational Board (PEB) Scholarships – Provides quality education to “poorest of the poor” (aka Christian) children through scholarships if parents cannot afford the $2/month tuition. A scholarship to one student spreads the benefits of an education to future generations. The cost per student is $365/year, or $31 per month, which covers tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms. Boarding student scholarships are twice that. We currently sponsor 7 students through this donation and the Mission budget.

Some Letters received from sponsored children:

Dear Sponsors,
My name is Sehar Madeline. I am 15 years old. I study in class 10. Now a days I am prepairing for my Pre-board examination. I am working hard to get good marks. On 1st June my summer holiday started. I didnt enjoy much as my mother was hospitalized. After holidays my summer camps started. Teachers helped us to cover our syllabus. Now I am coming to school regularly and I am hoping to graduate from this school with good marks. My dream is to become a doctor in future but I am not able to do wo without your support. Thank you for everything.

~Sehar Madeline
Kinnaird Academy High School for Girls, Lahore
Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan, 2019-20

Dear Sponsors,
I am Zinnia Rose in class 4. I am 9 years old. We are three sisters. Now we have a baby brother. I love him very much. English is my favorite subject. My teachers help me a lot. Thank you for your love and support

~Zinnia Rose Shiraz
Kinnaird Academy High School for Girls, Lahore
Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan, 2019-20

Dear Sponsors,
My name is Aliha Azher. I am 10 years old. There are new swings in my school. My favorite subject is Social Studies as I love to study about history. I am studying in class 5M. My hobby is painting. My favorite fruit is strawberry. I like to play football in sports. I enjoyed my summer holidays. My Mid-Term examination are to be held in October. I want to be a doctor in future. I am doing wworking very hard for my exams to achieve good marks. Thank you for your love and support

~Aliha Azhar
Kinnaird Academy High School for Girls, Lahore
Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan, 2019-20

This Child Here (Ukraine)

This Child Here is a faith based 501c3 non-profit, at work in Odessa, Ukraine. We support street kids and social orphans in Odessa with clothes, medicine, after school activities, camp supplies in cooperation with The Way Home, A Ukrainian Charity. In Cooperation with Alternative to Violence (AVP), we send teams into orphanages and shelters throughout the Odessa region to work with children on issues of personal boundaries, addictions, self esteem, identity, and love (or life in community).

This Child Here” in Ukraine currently trains all foster families and social workers in the Odessa region. There are 751 orphanages in Ukraine and 106,000 youth and children in them. The hope is to get kids back into healthy families: families of origin or foster families, to give them a strong foundation for their life. The cost for two staff people to lead a session is $400. Training covers 3 days and includes classes on childhood development and skills in effective parenting. Up to 10 people are allowed in each session due to COVID, but previously it was 25.

Q Mountain Connections (QMC) Emergency Food Fund (Lesotho, Africa)

Providing Emergency food to Qholaqhoe, Lesotho

Q Mountain Connection Emergency Food Fund, Lesotho is a lifeline for the people of Qholaqhoe where there has been a drought and crop failures for more than four years. There are no unemployment funds, PPE, or healthcare benefits. No food pantries and very little food support of any kind. The World Food Program has warned that a hunger pandemic could eclipse the coronavirus. Our church supports 5 high school students with scholarships who, along with 57 other high school students, will benefit from the emergency food fund. $75 provides supplementary food for a child for 10 months.
"We Depend on growing and selling vegetables on a small sclaes but this year nothing grew for the winter season because has been little rainfall. Two orphans live with us. Ntate Maseli gets the old age grant (M800 per month) but it's not enough. We get in debt just to buy papa. Sometimes fellow villagers help us out of pity. Ntate Maseli is sick and often bedridden."



Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) believes every abused or neglected child deserves to have a dedicated advocate speaking up for their best interest in court, at school, and in our community. Non-profit CASA trains and supervises community volunteers who ensure each child’s needs remain a priority in an overburdened child welfare system. For these children, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible. Two church members have taken the training to become advocates.

CASA is central to fulfilling society's most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child's right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family.

What Does a CASA Do?
Follow a CASA Volunteer's Journey to help a child reach permanency:

  1. Child is placed in foster care
  2. Judge appoints CASA Program and program matches the child/children with a CASA Volunteer
  3. CASA Meets child and gets to know them
  4. CASA Visits the child at least once a month
  5. CASA Communicates with everyone involved in the case (Parents, foster parents, family, doctors, social workers, teachers, etc.)
  6. CASA Provides advocacy for the child's best interest in court
  7. CASA's goal is to advocate until the child is returned home or placed into a safe, permanent home and the case is closed.

Interfaith Food Pantry (Housed in the HRDC Building)

Interfaith Food Pantry is an all-volunteer emergency food resource for people who live in Cumberland. Located at 301 Cumberland St., it formed in 1975 by the 23 local churches of the Interfaith Consortium. The pantry provides non-perishable food, and vouchers that can be used in three local markets to purchase perishable foods. Distribution of food is governed by family circumstances, family number, and number of times the pantry has been used during the current year. Volunteers are also always needed and welcome. 

Western Maryland Food Bank

Western Maryland Food Bank supplies food to 80 local agencies, emergency needs, and the school backpack program. In the last six months it distributed 482,389 pounds of food. Of that, 220,820 pounds were fresh produce. The Food Bank now has an outlet of fresh food but needs a refrigerated truck in order to bring it to people of the Cumberland area, for a more healthy diet. Since the food bank relies entirely on donations, a truck is a major expense for them.