By Olivia Overman
Located on Minnieville Road, Woodbridge, the First United Presbyterian Church of Dale City is a church embedded deep in the Prince William community. Officially chartered as the First United Presbyterian Church of Dale City on April 16, 1972 with the church building built in 1977, FUPCDC has a mission that reaches both locally, regionally and internationally. Their reach expands beyond the walls of the church, to individuals and groups in need of assistance.
Action in Community Through Service
Working with ACTS, a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving the residents of the Greater Prince William Area, the FUPCDC congregation donates food and personal items throughout the year that are delivered to the ACTS Hunger Prevention Center twice each month. They also support the ACTS domestic violence shelter through quarterly donations of needed items.
“Last February we held the Souper Bowl of Caring, where the congregation donated food and personal items such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste totaling 3,266 pounds,” said Pat Manalio, Mission and Outreach Committee member. These donations were delivered to the ACTS Hunger Prevention Center.
Donations have been increasing each year with 899.3 pounds and 982.5 pounds donated in the previous two years.
Lakeridge Fellowship House
FUPCDC started working with the Lakeridge Fellowship house “after learning about a need,” said Manalio. With 107 residents who live in these low-income, senior apartments, FUPCDC donates personal care items and food, and over the holiday period, they brought holiday cards and a gift for each resident.
Spread the Bread Ministry and Spread the Warmth
More than 40 people from FUPCDC participate in a feeding program for people experiencing homelessness in Prince William, every Sunday of the year no matter the weather. A blanket and sleeping bag drive is held on Christmas Eve. In addition, sweatshirts, backpacks and gloves are provided to nearly 300 people. “We believe our congregation has given over 11,000 hours in volunteer hours,” said Pam Cox, Mission and Outreach Committee member.
Spread the Warmth is another of the church’s ministries where congregation members knit items such as mittens and scarves throughout the year for distribution to the homeless. Hats are also made and distributed to cancer patients.
“Every year FUPCDC receives a list of about 50 names of children from Prince William County Social Services that need some support over the holidays,” said Cox.
Congregation members pick a gift tag off the tree at the church and bring the requested gift and wrapping supplies to the church for delivery to the county.
Lighthouse Drama Camp
During the summer months, FUPCDC continues its commitment to the community by offering a summer camp for children ages 5 to 14 years old. Staffed by volunteers and open to the community, the church offers a fun and educational program for children. “Last year the children put on two musical productions at the end of the two-week camp, including one for residents of a local retirement community,” said Cox.
A state-of-the-art technology exists that helps locate people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other related mental dysfunction disorders who become lost. FUPCDC has provided a financial contribution to fund seven devices over the past year.
National Night Out
In continuing to give back to the community, FUPCDC invites the local community to show appreciation for the Prince William County Police in this national program. Food, drinks, games and a bounce house are arranged for this fun evening when county police officers come on their police bikes and vehicles with McGruff the Crime Dog to spend some time with the local community. “Last year over 200 people participated, many from outside the congregation,” said Cox.
Regional and International Programs
On a regional and international level, FUPCDC donates time and money to numerous programs that the Mission and Outreach Committee feels appropriate. A few examples include:
Kairos Prison Ministries – Volunteers from the FUPCDC facilitate a weekend spiritual retreat for male and female inmates in prisons located in Sussex, Virginia and in the greater Richmond area.
Rise Against Hunger – For the past five years, FUPCDC has been involved in this international meal-packing event where congregation members help pack 20,000 meals of soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables, and a flavoring mix with essential vitamins and minerals. Partnering with Covenant Presbyterian Church for the last two years, meals were packaged and shipped overseas to areas of need.
Team Yucatan Mission Team – What started out as work to install cement flooring in a village in the Yucatan has now developed into a long-term relationship with eight to 10 congregation members traveling to the Yucatan. The congregation has sponsored and installed three water treatment plants that provide fresh potable water for the communities.
Disaster Relief Mission Team – In previous years the church has gone to help with hurricane relief efforts in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Consideration of All
Taking on new missions and outreach programs each year, FUPCDC is dedicated to providing support on a local, regional and international level. The Mission and Outreach Committee members meet once a month to review suggestions provided by congregation members and to discuss possible needs. With approximately 250 congregation members, FUPCDC is a church making a big difference.
For more information about the charitable programs run by FUPCDC, visit fupcdc.org.
Olivia Overman (email@example.com) is a freelance writer for both online and print organizations. She earned an M.A. in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University, Washington, D.C.