“Our vision has been to provide new clothing for children and youth and to show them through this effort that God loves them,” explains Jerre Ward, project volunteer. “Families are facing lost jobs, economic hardship, increases in the cost of living, and in some cases unemployment benefits are running out.” The Center is part of Judson Baptist Church in Lansing, a congregation founded in the 1930s in a strongly middle class neighborhood.
“There is no administrative cost to run the center because all buying, hanging up of clothing and service to the families is accomplished by volunteers,” Ward says. “So the entire $2,500 grant was used to purchase new clothing for the children and youth.” Ward explains the Matthew 25 Grant is supplemented by grants from various other organizations, including funds provided by a local business concerned to help the children. The Center also receives donations, large and small, toward its support.
The Center provides items such as shoes, jeans, socks, underwear and coats. “This Grant has made a huge difference,” Ward continues. “Because we give families free clothing, they can use funds to purchase food, insurance and other necessities.”
“We are thankful that we can serve as a resource and provide clothing, comfort and love to families in their time of need,” says Debra Dawsey, another volunteer.
The majority of members of Judson Baptist Church are older, however a recent influx of new, younger members has been active in the administration of the church and its programs. Judson allows two congregations, one Burmese and one Nepalese, to use the church building for worship at no cost. The congregation also housed a congregation whose church building had burned while that church’s members raised enough funds to rebuild. Judson American Baptist Women are active in missions including Hannah’s House, a home for homeless, pregnant teens, City Rescue Mission donations and other foreign and home missions.
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/