The most recent grant from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative will help improve the diets of clients of a hospice in China. Other grants approved in recent months aid agricultural work in the Africa Great Lakes region, the education of leaders among Brethren in the Dominican Republic, and several community gardens in the United States that are connected with Church of the Brethren congregations. An additional domestic allocation supports the Brethren Nutrition Program of Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren.
An allocation of $10,000 has been given for the You'ai (Brethren) Care ministry led by Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller in Pingding, China. You’ai Care is connected to the Yangquan You'ai Hospital. Funds will cover food preparation appliance purchases, nutrition classes, kitchen staffing at the hospital, and fruit and protein to supplement and improve the diets of hospice patients. The ministry sees this as a possible two-year partnership with the Global Food Initiative, and will look to other funding sources for long-term sustainability of the program if successful.
Africa Great Lakes
An additional allocation of $12,500 continues agriculture work among the Twa people in Rwanda. The project is administered by ETOMR (Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda). Funds will be used for seeds, fertilizers, land rental, tools, and matching funds for a motorcycle to be used for project supervision. Previous grants to this organization made between 2011 and 2015 total $35,206.
A grant of $10,000 has supported agriculture work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), is a ministry of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the Congo). This grant continues agricultural work primarily with 250 Twa families, along with 50 Brethren families who will also be working under the direction of SHAMIRED to raise crops such as peanuts, cassava, bananas, corn, and vegetables. Previous allocations to this project were made from 2011 to 2016, totaling $32,500.
An allocation of $660 helped six representatives of Iglesia de los Hermanos in the Dominican Republic to travel to Santiago for a week of training with Medical Ambassadors International. The group came from both the Dominican and Dominican Haitian congregations of the DR church. Phase 1 was completed in August 2016 with the six candidates giving an in-depth report to all pastors and board members at a December pastors’ retreat, as well as being required to form community development groups in their own communities.
A number of allocations this year have gone to community garden projects that are connected with Church of the Brethren congregations:
-- $1,300 has been given to support a vegetable gardening project in Circle, Alaska, which is an outreach of Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind., through the leadership of Bill and Penny Gay.
-- $3,000 funds community outreach work of Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren in Lybrook, N.M., which is connected with the community garden of Lybrook Community Ministries. Church members will provide fresh produce to neighbors who are food insecure, giving instructions on how to cook and prepare meals with the produce and inviting them to join cooking classes at the church, with fresh produce purchased to augment the vegetables and herbs currently being produced in the community garden.
-- $1,000 offers funding for a community garden of an ecumenical group that includes New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, where the community has been declared a food desert by the FDA. A garden project was begun last year with 40 plots. The people who rent plots donate their first harvest to the local food pantry, and some donated vegetables are sold at a farmers’ market, with funds used to upgrade the property.
In an additional domestic allocation, $10,000 has been given to the Brethren Nutrition Program located in Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren. The Brethren Nutrition Program currently serves roughly 100 lunches a week to guests from a variety of backgrounds. Most are housing-insecure and stay on the street, in shelters, or in assisted housing. Funds from this grant help replace the stove ventilation system in the church kitchen.
For more information and to donate to the work of the Global Food Initiative, go to www.brethren.org/gfi .