In recent months, numerous grants have been made by the Global Food Initiative (GFI) of the Church of the Brethren. Grants have been given for agriculture-related and hunger relief projects in Haiti, Mexico, and Spain, and in the United States to projects related to Church of the Brethren congregations in Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Illinois.
An allocation of $5,000 covers a transition time between the end of the first year of an ongoing Growing Hope Globally project (fiscal year ending March 31, 2019) and the arrival of funds from Growing Hope Globally to support the second year. The GFI grant will allow staff in Haiti to continue to receive salaries and cover program costs until funds from Growing Hope Globally become available.
A grant of $5,000 supports Bittersweet Ministries’ new community center in Pan Americano community in Leandro Valle, Tijuana, Mexico. The center is a non-profit run by the community. It provides a meal each day, school sponsorships, and moral and spiritual support for families. Approximately 75 children and 30 adults are involved with the center. Families who wish to participate are required to become a part of the co-op that runs the program. They work together to prepare and serve food, clean and maintain the facility, and care for the children. The center is in the process of being rebuilt after a fire destroyed it a year ago. The grant will support the purchase of kitchen appliances and supplies, cups, dishes, silverware, tables, and chairs.
An allocation of $3,600 funds the community garden project of the Lanzarote congregation of Iglesia Evangelica de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in Spain) in the Canary Islands. The project was begun in 2015 with support from GFI and has benefitted many people in the community. Another partner for the distribution of non-perishable food to families in need is the Red Cross. The project this year requires more investment because a new piece of rental land has been acquired, as the original was no longer available. The new space will require preparation of the soil in order to grow different crops. Funds will be used for the purchase of irrigation hoses, water, land rental, seeds, and a mini-green house. Previous grants to this project total more than $11,000.
A grant of $3,500 has been given for the community garden project of Community of Joy Church of the Brethren in Salisbury, Md. This project is a new venture with Choices Academy, a local alternative school for at-risk students. Funds will be used to purchase materials to build a movable high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) and to purchase top soil.
A grant of $3,000 has gone to Lybrook Community Ministries in collaboration with Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle School on a garden project. The communities located around the school are almost exclusively in poverty, with many households lacking running water or electricity to keep fresh produce. They are isolated from access to fresh food, located 30 to 60 miles from a relatively populated town with a grocery store, with a severe lack of reliable transportation to obtain healthy and nutritious foods. The garden will give students the opportunity to have hands-on experience with growing plants and produce, while getting out in the community and providing fresh food for families. Funds will be used to purchase top soil, fencing materials, plants, seeds, hoses, and cement blocks for raised beds.
An allocation of $2,200 supports the purchase of water tanks, fruit trees, and seeds for a project of Iglesia Jesucristo El Camino/His Way Church of the Brethren in Hendersonville, N.C. The congregation is working in the rural community of Aquita Zarca near Durango, Mexico, with staff of the community school where one water tank already has been installed to collect rain water from the school's roof. A member of the congregation is from the Aquita Zarca community. The grant will support the purchase, delivery, and installation of two 5,000-liter water tanks, and the purchase of tree seedlings and seeds.
A grant of $1,000 has been given for the community garden project of Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. The project was begun in 2016 with support from the GFI. The garden did not do well in its original downtown location, so the Polo congregation moved it to the church property. The garden has done well in the new location, and the congregation plans to expand by building two more raised beds and adding a supply shed and seating. Funds will purchase lumber for raised beds, top soil, a garden shed, and tools.
Find out more about the Global Food Initiative and give online at www.brethren.org/gfi .