A $3,000 Matthew 25 Grant has been making it possible for the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry (GACM) in Philadelphia and its partner Second Baptist Church of Germantown to feed hundreds of disadvantaged families each Thursday.
“Between May and October 2015 our ministry distributed 4.35 tons of food to 546 households,” reports Eileen A. Jones, GACM executive director. “Most of our food products come from congregations, private donations and SHARE (a state-funded initiative). The bulk of these donations are canned and dry goods. Resources to supplement those donations are important as they enable the purchase of items seldom donated and most requested by our clients – meats and vegetables! With the Matthew 25 Grant we were able to furnish those most requested items. Additionally, the funds enabled us to purchase supplemental food from Philabundance (a large Philadelphia food bank initiative). “
Jones explains the grant enabled the continuation of an initiative called “Healthy Alternatives.”
“Through Healthy Alternatives, recipients get a $10 grocery voucher that is redeemable for fresh vegetables, eggs and milk,” Jones explains. “The Matthew 25 Grant enabled 162 households to receive vouchers. Clients love this program! They can select the fruits and vegetables they like.”
The Matthew 25 Grant initiative, sponsored by American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and the Board of General Ministries, is funded by a generous, anonymous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of “housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate.” In Fall 2015, a total of 69 applicants received funding ranging from $500 to $5,000 with a total awarded of $169,140. Grant applications are welcomed once annually by September 1.
One client, asked how the Healthy Alternatives voucher helps, told Jones, “With onions, green peppers and garlic cloves, a few cans of green beans, corn and a bag of pasta I can make a hearty soup! Just what I need in this changing weather…”
Jones explains that while the pantry is pretty full at the beginning of each Thursday the shelves are usually depleted by the end of the day.
Bessie Jordan-Byrd, who chairs the Board of Missions at Second Baptist Church, reported on a recent visit to the pantry. “A steady stream of people came all day,” Jordan-Byrd says. “One mother came at the end of the day asking for food. When she was told the cupboard was almost depleted, she responded by saying, ‘I will take anything you can give me. I do not have food for my children tonight’.”
Jones says simply, “We are most grateful for the support of American Baptist Churches USA and Second Baptist Church. It helps our efforts to keep our Food Cupboard shelves full.”
The Matthew 25 Grant process is structured to help small ministries with limited staff time. For more information on the grant and application process visit: http://www.abc-usa.org/matthew25/.