Hunger Grants Provide $18,000 to Support 9 Programs
In this year of increasingly difficult financial news, as more of our families, friends and neighbors struggle, many for the first time, with issues of hunger or food insecurity, the ministries provided by the congregations of this Annual Conference have taken on an even greater urgency. Heeding the call to “feed the hungry,” United Methodists in Idaho and Oregon have stepped out in faith, beginning new ministries or expanding existing ones to meet the needs.
The highlights of each year are the opportunities to award grants to congregations to enable them to begin or expand hunger ministries. These grants are funded primarily through the Change Hunger Fast offering which congregations bring to Annual Conference each June. In 2010, $12,927.74 was received. Additional gifts provided another $2600. Because of this, the task force was able to award nine grants in 2010/2011 totaling over $18,000 dollars. Grants were awarded to Beaverton UMC; Portland First; Asbury, Emmett, Halsey, Jason Lee Memorial, John Day, Joseph, and Shelley UMC’s. Many of these ministries are ecumenical and involve partnerships with a variety of community organizations and agencies.
Three extensive community gardens will provide fresh, healthy food and model sustainability, offer nutrition education, and give recipients the opportunity to participate in providing for their own needs. A meal for homeless and at-risk teens will not only fill their stomachs, but will also provide an opportunity to develop relationships and assess their other needs. Expansion of an existing weekend meal program will allow even more elementary-age students to have a nutritious meal on weekends when school lunch is not available. Other existing ministries have seen a need to replace existing equipment or provide for the responsible maintenance of the part of their facility used for the hunger ministry.
Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Conference web site. Grants may be awarded for start-up expenses, infrastructure, equipment, or other one-time expenses. Programs must have a plan for self-sufficiency and have additional funding from other sources. Applicants are also provided guidance and assistance in locating and connecting with other available funding resources and following “best practices.”