The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) of the Church of the Brethren has provided several grants in recent months that support agriculture by a Brethren group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a gardening project in Alaska, nutrition education and cooking classes for Spanish speaking population living around Roanoke, Va., and the work of a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.
DR Congo: A grant of $4,515 funds agriculture work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recipient of the grant is Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), a nonprofit ministry with ties to a Brethren church group called Eglise des Freres du Congo. The funds will be used to purchase a grain and cassava mill to make flour as a value-added component to the ongoing agriculture work of SHAMIRED in the region. People from various ethnic groups will benefit from this mill. Previous GFCF allocations to the work of SHAMIRED include four grants which, starting in Dec. 2011, have provided a total of $22,500 to this agricultural development effort.
Alaska: A grant of $4,500 has purchased a tiller to be used in a vegetable gardening project in Circle, Alaska. Bill and Penny Gay, members of Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind., have worked each summer since 2003 with local residents in Alaska, to promote community gardening and the raising of fresh produce that otherwise is unavailable. The project also receives support from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The Alaska gardening project previously received two separate $1,000 grants through the Going to the Garden grant program of the GFCF and the Office of Public Witness.
Roanoke: A grant of $4,500 supports nutrition and cooking classes for Spanish-speaking residents of the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. The recipient of the grant, Casa Renacer, is related to but incorporated separately from the Renacer congregations of the Church of the Brethren. Casa Renacer began offering services earlier this year in order to help meet the immediate needs of the Latino community in the Roanoke area. This grant will fund four nutrition and cooking classes for 20 families over the course of 12 months. Classes will be led by a Family Nutrition Program assistant who works for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Roanoke Office.
BVS position: An allocation of up to $15,000 over 12 months will continue support for a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) position in the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. This volunteer will continue working with the Going to the Garden initiative of the Office of Public Witness and the GFCF. The money funds a BVS stipend, volunteer housing, travel to visit community gardens, and other expenses as required by BVS and the Office of Public Witness.
Find out more about the ministry of the Global Food Crisis Fund at www.brethren.org/gfcf .