A total of $77,958 has been distributed in recent grants from two funds of the Church of the Brethren, the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) and the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF). The grants provide funding for the completion of a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in New Jersey and the start up of a new rebuilding project in West Virginia, as well as a rabbit project in Haiti and assessment of GFCF-sponsored projects in the Africa Great Lakes region.
EDF: Spotswood, N.J.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed $25,000 from the EDF to close out its rebuilding project in Spotswood, N.J. Since January 2014, volunteers have been working on home repair and rebuilding in various areas of Monmouth County, N.J., most recently with Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group serving as primary response partner. Until the end of March 2015, this project was funded by a grant from the American Red Cross. Although the recovery work in Monmouth County is still needed, with outside funding options no longer available the local recovery group had to close at the end of 2015. Brethren Disaster Ministries will be working to close out the current project site during the last week of January 2016, preparing to move to a new location in southern West Virginia at the beginning of February for a new flood response project. This grant funds the completion of the rebuilding project in New Jersey.
EDF: Harts, W.Va.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed an EDF allocation of $45,000 to begin a new rebuilding project site following flooding in West Virginia in March, April, and July of 2015. More than 1,400 families in 32 counties were affected, in an area with high unemployment rates and a nearly 37 percent poverty rate in many counties, and FEMA assistance was denied for all three events, said the grant request. “An additional challenge is the record number of bridges and water crossing that were damaged or destroyed. A collaborative effort among National VOAD member organizations and committees, state and federal officials, the Army Corp of Engineers, and other public engineering and business sectors has resulted in a pilot project of 20 water crossings to be built in 4 counties.” Brethren Disaster Ministries reported that after monitoring the situation, enough unmet needs were discovered to justify a rebuilding response. Volunteers working on the West Virginia project are expected to help with traditional home repair and rebuilding, but will likely be providing assistance for a bridge project as well. This initial grant will open a new rebuilding project site in Harts, in Lincoln County, W.Va.
GFCF: Africa Great Lakes region
A GFCF grant of $4,900 is funding a program evaluation of three GFCF-sponsored projects in the Africa Great Lakes region, in the nations of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The evaluation is to be conducted in early 2016 by the staff of Ebenezer University of Minembwe, DR Congo. This university was recommended by Charles Franzen, a member of the Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren and country director for World Relief's Democratic Republic of Congo programs.
A GFCF allocation of $3,058 covers the costs of four training events on rabbit production in Haiti. The recipient of this grant, Hares for Haiti, is a ministry of Juniper Community Missions. The organizer of the trainings, Abe Fisher, is a member of Bunkertown Church of the Brethren in McAlisterville, Pa. One of the four training events will be held for a select group of Haitian Brethren farmers at the Ministry Center of Eglise des Freres d'Haiti. Three members of the agricultural staff of Eglise de Freres d'Haiti attended a training in late 2015, and they recommended the training and feel it would be valuable.