Outreach

At St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Altavista

Backpacks for Kids

St. Peter’s participates in the Backpacks for Kids project, in cooperation with the Altavista Area Ministerial Association though Gleaning for America.

Summer SPARK

The goal of the endeavor is to help alleviate both summer learning loss and food insecurity. 

Frannie's House

Frannie’s House is a domestic violence shelter for victims who live in the southern part of Campbell County and surrounding areas.

Backpacks for Kids

daughters-of-the-king

St. Peter’s also participates in the Backpacks for Kids project, in cooperation with the Altavista Area Ministerial Association though Gleaning for America.

The purpose of the program is to provide at-risk children with proper noursihment over the weekend (in addition to the meal program at school). The program has a proven track record of success in other parts of the country. It reduces absenteeism, increases attentiveness of students, improves grades and lessens bullying, a major issue in our schools today. In addition, members of St. Peter’s help fill backpacks on a regular schedule.

For the cost of only $200 per year, an elementary school student can be fed.

Summer SPARK

spark-program

Summer SPARK began as “Gus the Bus, Plus” in 2016 with an ecumenical group of involved citizens, spearheaded initially by a St. Peter’s member.  The members of First Baptist Church (Bedford Ave.) who had been managing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for the Altavista area for several years joined with folks from Campbell County Libraries, The United Way, and some area teachers from various churches (including St. Peter’s) and created a summer program for the children of Altavista.  The goal of the endeavor was, and still is, to help alleviate both summer learning loss and food insecurity.  

Gus the Bus, Plus originally revolved around the retro-fitted school bus that was a travelling playroom for children.  The group planned activities and story times for children in addition to play time inside the bus, and offered snack to all the children.  They operated for almost every Wednesday in the summer.  Each event was about an hour long, and the children chose a book to take home.  Each family was offered a bag of food that consisted of the ingredients for a breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Gus the Bus stopped at four different lower-income locations in the Town of Altavista.

Over the years, the program has evolved into Summer Spark, and no longer uses Gus the Bus.  The program runs for six Wednesdays in June & July, at Shreve Park and Moseley Park in Altavista.   We offer story time, games, creative arts, and snack to elementary-aged children.  Sessions sometimes include visiting educational programs, such as those from Amazement Square, The Nature Zone, and Mill Mountain Theatre.  

The group has also expanded and taken on a larger scope.  Altavista Outreach and Enrichment is now a 501(3)c organization under which Summer Spark, Imagination Library, the StoryWalk at English Park, and the Little Free Libraries at Moseley, Coleman, and Bedford Avenue Parks operate.  AOE seeks to expand the literacy opportunities for the citizens of our area.  They are always welcome to new ideas and new members!  

Frannie’s House

frannies-house

Frannie’s House is a domestic violence shelter for victims who live in the southern part of Campbell County and surrounding areas. The project began right here at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Before Frannie’s House there was no shelter in Altavista or Campbell County other than the use of a local hotel. Domestic violence victims in rural Campbell and Pittsylvania Counties were forced to go to Lynchburg for shelter, approximately 25 miles away.

Although St. Peter’s is a small church, an account of some $100,000 had been set aside for a full-time rector. About five years ago at a vestry meeting, one of the members suggested that those funds be used for a domestic violence shelter. It was decided to bring the idea of giving the money away at an annual meeting. The vote was nearly unanimous (minus 1) to give the money away. The following month the congregation met and distributed over half of their money to local charities, saving $50,000 to be given to a proposed domestic violence shelter.

In the coming months, the Altavista Ministerial Association was informed and shortly, a small group of interested county and town folk met to consider a plan. A Town Meeting was held in July of 2007 where  65 persons attended. A  task force of 35 was then formed and met for a year to create a plan to include a speakers bureau, a fund raising arm, a budget, a volunteer corps and other programs. The project was named Frannie’s House after Frances Lane, longtime member of St. Peter’s and community leader.

That same year, the YWCA of Central Virginia invited Frannie’s House to come under their Domestic Violence umbrella. A smaller steering committee was then formed to provide ongoing direction to primarily the fundraising activities.

In July 2009, St. Peter’s turned over their seed money to the YWCA.  By that time, the funds had grown from the original $50,000 to over $90,000 due to a series of concerts, generous donations from interested parties and $20,000 from the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia (through their annual St. Nicholas Offering). It was clear that God had a plan for a domestic violence shelter in Altavista.

The Town of Altavista granted Frannie’s House a special use permit, and the YWCA purchased a house for the safe house.  After many renovations supported by businesses and churches  in the community and with labor from many volunteers, Frannie’s House opened in July of 2010.  Projects and fund-raisers continue to enable the funding of this safe house for both men and women.

More information about Frannie’s House and domestic violence is available on the YWCA of Central Virginia web site, ywcacva.org