Local Outreach Projects

Sally and Frank Hewitt, after delivering the lunches, eat with Habitat volunteer workers

Sally and Frank Hewitt, after delivering the lunches, eat with Habitat volunteer workers

St. John’s encouragses and supports hands-on participation by parishioners in projects and endeavors that make a positive difference in our local community.  Some of those activities in which parishioners are involved are highlighted below.


St. John’s Helpful Shop

                                          HELPFUL SHOP GRANTS 2016
The Helpful Shop Advisory Board President, Andy Pudan, has begun the grant process for this year. Applications for grants have been mailed to prior requestors and are available at the Helpful Shop and the church office. The completed applications are to be sent to Andy’s home address, which is on the

St. John’s Helpful Shop, located at the corner of Monterey and Capitola Avenues in Capitola Village, was begun over 60 years ago by the women of the church to raise money for a new church carpet. “The Shop” is a vital part of St. John’s outreach program.

Faithful volunteers receive and resell “clean, gently used items,” in good condition, donated by parishioners and community members.  Robert Adams, a part-time manager, fills the only paid position.  Volunteers come from the church and the community and are enthusiastic about the benefits they receive from their time at the shop.  Besides providing quality clothing and small household items at an affordable price, the volunteers provide smiles and listening ears for the many who drop in to visit and “pass the time of day.”

The profits generated by The Shop ($30,000+) are given to charitable organizations focusing on women, children and veterans.

How to Help: To donate or volunteer time, please contact Jill Anderson.

Helpful Shop, Outreach, Episcopal Church, Santa Cruz, Aptos, Seacliff, Scotts Valley, Soquel

Helpful Shop – 60th Anniversary Celebration

Habitat for Humanity

St. John’s supports the work of Habitat for Humanity in Santa Cruz County. This organization has provided 40 affordable homes to local families, and a current project will add six more.  Our parishioners have been preparing lunches for the Habitat volunteers for over 15 years.  Individual parishioners also volunteer as construction workers.

How to Help:  Mary Nona Hudson coordinates the St. John’s members who prepare lunches.  The Habitat website has contacts for helping build the homes.

Homeless Services

St. John’s has been actively involved in various support services for the homeless.  We raised funds to help build the Rebele Family Shelter, part of the Homeless Services Center (HSC), on the corner of River and Coral Streets in Santa Cruz.  (The facility was named for St. John’s members, Rowland and Pat Rebele.) Upon completion of the facility, the Parish furnished two family apartments.  The shelter accommodates 28 families with children for a maximum stay of six months, providing counseling and career exploration, and helping people find jobs and permanent housing.

Parishioners donate food on a regular basis for the residents of Page Smith Transitional Housing, also part of the HSC.  A faithful volunteer takes the food to Page Smith House once a month. Others volunteer time at the HSC, and the current board president is St. John’s parishioner, Claudia Brown.

How to Help: One can volunteer or assist at the HSC by calling 831-458-6020, extension 6.  Donations are always welcome.  Checks payable to Homeless Services Center may be mailed to HSC, 115 Coral St., Santa Cruz, CA  95060.  www.scshelter.org

At the 2014 Annual Parish Meeting, the congregation chose to house homeless persons in our facility.  This will begin shortly under the auspices of the Faith Community Shelter program.  Dinner and shelter will be provided two Tuesdays per month.

How To Help: Contact Jon Showater or Michael Gansauer

Prison and Jail Ministry

Prison ministry is an ongoing part of St. John’s outreach.  Our members are involved in Kairos and Christian Hope.  These team ministries involve small groups who present one- to three-day programs to inmates at various state prison locations.  Some members visit Salinas Valley State Prison, Santa Cruz Main Jail, and the Women’s Blaine Street facility.

How to Help: Contact Bill Kell to join this ministry or to contribute to it.

Adopt a Family

During Advent we reach out to less fortunate families in our local community and “adopt” two or three of them.  Parishioners donate wrapped Christmas gifts found on the families’ “wish list,” food items and/or money.

How to Help: You can purchase and wrap selected gifts in early December.  Contact the church office at that time for the name of the current organizer.

Santa Maria Urban Ministry

Santa Maria Urban Ministry (SMUM) was founded in 1983 as an outreach ministry of the Diocese of El Camino Real.  As a partner of the Second Harvest Food Bank, SMUM provides emergency food assistance to about 1,800 low-income people a month in central San Jose. (Half of these are children).

SMUM aims to “make Christ a living presence by offering to all a safe place of welcome, service and positive transformation.” Located at 778 S. Almaden in San Jose, those served report that SMUM provides a unique gathering place for those in the neighborhood.  In addition to food assistance, SMUM operates a preschool for children and an after-school program as well as ESL classes for adults.  They also provide free clothing from their Community Chest, emergency transportation and food deliveries to seniors.

How to Help: Contributions can be mailed to SMUM, 778 S. Almaden, San Jose, CA 95110.  Please visit the web site to learn more:  www.santamariasj.org

New Eyes for the Needy

Eye glasses and cases that you and your loved ones no longer need are collected and mailed to New Eyes for the Needy, an organization started by an Episcopal church in New Jersey, which distributes them to those who cannot afford glasses overseas.  By law they are no longer able to distribute them in the U.S., but with monetary and precious metal (broken jewelry, dental) donations, they also help the poor in our country.

How to Help:   Put your old glasses/or cases and in the plastic bin labeled “New Eyes for the Needy.”  It is located just inside the kitchen at St. John’s.  For more information contact Julie Fudge.

English as a Second Language

English language instruction is held twice weekly at St. John’s, under the leadership of Gina Muller, a credentialed ESL teacher.  Students are immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico and El Salvador.  In addition to the classes, individual parishioners are paired with students for weekly one-on-one tutoring.  This program takes place under the auspices of the The Literacy Project of Santa Cruz County.

How to Help:  Contact Gina Muller.

Students from the latest class

Students from the latest class

Sheltering Project

Since the fall of 2015 St. John’s has been sheltering people without homes every other Tuesday night.  Near twenty people come for fellowship, a good meal, showers and a safe, warm place to sleep.  As part of the Faith Community Shelter Project we join six other area churches in providing a far more stable environment for folks not much different than us.  With the help of volunteer advocates through the Wings Program, many of our guests pass through the project to real homes.
How to Help:  Contact Jon Showalter.