Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Twin Cities’ hunger agencies receive ELCA Hunger Grants

The ELCA Hunger Program awarded grants to nine Twin Cities’ agencies in 2013. These projects total $15,500 and are given for grants that do relief work, develop community self-sufficiency or organize people and congregations for advocacy work.

While development projects (such as building a well for a village) usually yield returns seven times greater than relief projects (like hauling in the water), advocacy projects (such as building a road to the market for villagers to buy and sell their goods) usually yield more than one hundred times more than each relief dollar.

These grants given within the U.S. totaled $1.5 million and are a part of the $19 million that is distributed for hunger and poverty around the world. Much of the world’s distribution is through Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran World Federation’s Department for World Service.

One agency was awarded $2,500 for an advocacy project. The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches will establish workshops that teach the causes of poverty and hunger and train people in how to affect public policy in the state.

All of the funds for these grants and all international hunger work came from congregations who give to the ELCA Hunger Program above their regular benevolence giving.

Two projects are for development work. A Minnesota Without Poverty was given $1,000 to help their micro-enterprise program which gives grants to small businesses which are partnered with congregations.

Sub-Saharan African Youth and Family Services in Minnesota is located on University Avenue in St. Paul. The group was given $2,000 for a women’s improvement project. Participants learn self-sufficiency through sewing and quilting so that they can make clothes for their families and make items to sell at the market.

Dealing immediately with immediate needs

There are six agencies which will do relief work with the hunger donations. The Augsburg College Campus Kitchen project delivers 27,000 free meals per year locally, provides nutrition education, and grows an organic garden the produce from which is used in the kitchen. It received $2,500.

The House of Charity in downtown Minneapolis is the only seven-days-per-week dining facility in Minneapolis and it serves over 144,000 meals each year. It received $1,000.

Open Arms of Minnesota provides home delivery of frozen meals designed for people with dietary restrictions such as HIV/AIDS patients. They make and deliver more than 400,000 meals each year to almost 2,000 people. Open Arms received $1,000 for its work this year.

Open Hands Midway runs a food shelf for its neighborhood and it received $2,000 to help expand its offerings. The group now includes high protein foods like meat, cheese, eggs, and milk which are not available from the Feeding America food bank.

Our Saviour’s Community Service received $2,500 for its emergency shelter which serves almost 500 people each year. Some of these clients graduate to the organization’s transitional housing.

The Department of Indian Work of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches received $1,000 to help with its food shelf. It distributes over 62,000 pounds a year to local families and has transitioned to a self-service, store-aisle type of service.

All of the funds for these grants and all international hunger work came from congregations who give to the ELCA Hunger Program above their regular benevolence giving. A church that has a program which helps the needy and would like to expand the program or try some new ideas for it might qualify for a grant.

For more information, visit elca.org/domestichungergrants. For local assistance contact this author at empayne@embarqmail.com.

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