Mission is one of the defining programs of Christ Church of Longboat Key. The active mission program combines the giving of mission dollars from the congregation with hands-on activities whenever possible. While mission programs are focused on Sarasota and Manatee counties, we have mission partners that reach into, for example, Haiti and Africa. A focus of our mission effort is on programs that help the homeless and the hungry, never forgetting that it is God’s hand behind all that we do.
Selah Freedom – a Sarasota-based agency – offers a variety of services to survivors of sex trafficking, including trauma therapy, counseling, life skills and a safe place to stay. Of the girls that go through the program, 87% never return to the streets. Selah also offers help to schools through age-appropriate materials so students can avoid common tactics used by traffickers. Recently, Selah created a counseling arm that helps new or fledgling agencies establish well-run sustainable facilities to meet the many needs of girls traumatized by their experiences.
Turning Points has a transitional development program that assists those at risk of becoming homeless and those that are homeless. Financial assistance, as funding permits, is available or security deposits, rent, and utilities for clients meeting eligibility requirements. It is also an open door resource center and supplies the homeless with basic survival needs which include: use of a computer to apply for jobs, employment assistance, assistance in getting needed identification cards, mail services, food stamp assistance, hot showers, haircuts, laundry service and much more. There is a medical clinic for health and dental needs. Turning Points also has a veteran services program for men, women, and their families struggling with issues related to homelessness.
13th Avenue Dream Center: Reading Buddies
Since 2008, Christ Church has sponsored an after-school reading remediation and enrichment program in Bradenton for at-risk children in kindergarten through grade three. Four days a week, Florida-certified teachers provide instruction in phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and language arts. Every other Thursday from November through April, Christ Church volunteers work one-on-one with the Dream Center children. A highlight of the Reading Buddies program is the annual Children’s Christmas Party, held at Christ Church, for the children and their families. The children read scripture, recite sacred poems, and sing (from memory) a Christmas carol. The program is a celebration of Christmas, but it is also a celebration of the progress the children are making in reading. The mission of the Reading Buddies program is “to be a light in the lives of at-risk children and to shine that light on reading.”
Mobility Worldwide, formerly known as P.E.T., is a faith-based, volunteer-driven, non-profit organization. PET is an acronym for the Personal Energy Transportation vehicle that the group constructs and distributes at no cost to provide the gift of mobility to adults and children worldwide. They are designed to be hand-cranked and intended for use on rough terrain. Since 1984 over 80,000 Mobility Carts have been built and distributed by over 70 distribution partners. Our contributions support the group in Tampa which manufactures carts shipped to remote areas of the world.
Our Daily Bread
Our Daily Bread of Bradenton was established in 1984 in response to the community’s need to feed the hungry regardless of race, color, or belief. Since then, with extremely limited resources and space, Our Daily Bread has been able to serve over two million meals. They are open 364 days a year and also operate a food pantry where clients can come in once a month. Many of our church members volunteer weekly stocking shelves and distributing and bagging food. Additionally, our church family has been generous in donating to our food drives and bringing items into the box in Fellowship Hall.
Missionary in Haiti
Christ Church supports, Cindy Corell, a missionary who has been working in Haiti for several years.
Mision Paniel, located in Immokalee, Florida, is a mission of the Peace River Presbytery. It provides food and other services to the immigrant farmworkers in the area.
Hope Seeds is a Christian organization located in Bradenton, Florida. It provides packets of garden seed and the gospel Message of Hope to impoverished areas locally and worldwide. In addition to seed, it provides training materials for seed saving, nutrition, and sustainable gardening methods. Thanks to the faithful support of many volunteers and organizations, Hope Seeds shipped a record number of over 600,000 garden seed packets to 14 countries and potentially one half million lives were impacted in 2022. These garden seeds are distributed by 100+ missionaries and partner organizations. Our Christ Church congregation packs seeds regularly in Fellowship Hall and has packed over 267,000 seed packets which has assisted 26,000 families, helping over 130,000 individuals.
Harvest House is located in Sarasota and has 9 supportive housing campuses and 30 affordable rentals encompassing 400+ beds. They serve homeless families, veterans, youth ages 18 to 24, and adults with a history of incarceration and substance abuse. Helping more than 1,000 individuals annually, Harvest House works toward the development, preservation, and management of affordable, service-enriched housing.
In-Stride Hippo Therapy
InStride therapy serves children and adults with physical challenges, developmental disabilities, and related disorders without regard to their ability to pay for services. Simultaneously engaging cognitive, physical and occupational simulations brings dramatic and life-changing results. Programming is planned for veterans, first responders, and victims of child abuse and domestic violence.
E.F.E.L.T. (Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies)
E.F.E.L.T., sponsored by Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch Elks, provides nutritious meals and snacks to school-age children who are homeless or live in food-deprived homes. Many of these children receive meals at school during the week, but without this effort, would go hungry over the weekend. Volunteers donate their time and effort in shopping, inventorying, picking, and packing food into backpacks or bags and delivering them to schools on a weekly basis throughout the school year. There are no administrative costs associated with the program.
ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization. Located in Ft. Myers, Florida, and celebrating 30 years of working with missionaries and development workers all around the world, its goal is to bring glory to God and help sow seeds of hope. ECHO provides sustainable hunger solutions for those working with the poor in over 180 countries, helping the poor to help themselves.
Assists community agencies or individuals usually on a one-day project.
Beth-El – A Farm Workers Ministry
Located in Wimauma, Florida, Beth-El provides food, shelter, clothing, and worship opportunities for the families that work in the agricultural fields. They also operate a K through 8 school. Their mission statement reads: ”Helps farm workers achieve self-sufficiency through its open opportunities to worship, its extensive educational programs, and the many services it provides to meet their basic needs”.
Located in Venice, Florida, Agape Flights is an interdenominational Christian aviation ministry, dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, serving missionaries, children, and the people of Haiti and The Dominican Republic.
Bible Mission USA
Bible Mission USA has as its primary mission spreading the word of God through the free distribution of the gospels, newly translated into easily understood English by Dr. Paul Eckel. The Gospels of John and Mark have been published in this new format and translations of Matthew and Luke are planned for the future. This new Gospel of John has also been translated into Spanish for distribution to immigrant farm workers in the area. Beth-El and Turning Points are two major distribution points for these gospels.