This fall, a $2,000 Matthew 25 Grant from American Baptist Churches USA helped the Community Church of Hayward, Calif., to distribute backpacks filled with school supplies for the new school year to 85 of the community’s disadvantaged children.
The backpacks were distributed at a Community Festival outreach event. According to Community Church’s Manuel Magana, about 90 percent of the congregation’s immediate neighbors are low-income and receiving some kind of assistance.
“Everything we do (at the Festival) is 100 percent free to the community,” Magana says. The Festival includes food, live music, jumpers, carnival games, family activities and raffles. But Magana says the Festival’s main purpose is to partner with area non-profit organizations to afford education about issues involving safety, health, counseling, social services and child care.
In expressing thanks for the grant, Magana explains the Festival gave background to the congregation so it can follow up with participants. “Our hope is that they took full advantage of the spiritual and practical content provided by the Festival,” he says. “Ultimately we hope that our ongoing efforts will lead to greater resourcefulness and higher education, which will truly take students and their families out of poverty and put them on a leadership path that will help them make a more empowering contribution back into our community.”
Hayward, once known for its canning and salt manufacturing industries, has a population of nearly 150,000 people and is located in Alameda County in the East Bay region near San Francisco. It is located in the northern tip of the Silicon Valley, known for its technology industry. The community is known for its highly diverse (culturally) population.
The Matthew 25 Grant initiative, sponsored by 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.”
The application process for a Matthew 25 Grant is structured to help small ministries with limited staff time. For more information on the grant and application process visit: www.abc-usa.org/matthew25