The Tide Me Over program is offered to children who receive free or reduced-cost meals at school, according to the church’s Janis Knieper. Parents sign their children up for the program. Stockbridge Community Schools handles deciding which children are included in the program.
Stockbridge is a small community of about 1,200 residents in the Lansing area. It has a rich agricultural history.
“We place 12 different items in the bag each child receives,” Knieper says. “We provide a variety of different types of food. If preparation of food is required, the child has to have food he or she can prepare themselves. We try to select foods that we know children will eat. We aim for healthy options and food choices that will not spoil if not used immediately. We are mindful of costs and we don’t include items in glass containers because of safety concerns.”
Knieper explains shopping and packing of the bags takes place once a month, and then every Thursday afternoon during the school year a bag is placed in the children’s locker to be taken home on Friday. “For Christmas and Spring break we add a large jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly to each bag,” Knieper says. Additionally at Christmas the church has provided a $10 certificate to a local grocery store for milk and bread.
Some sample food items include cans of tuna, cans of green beans, ramen noodle packages, fruit cups, raisins, cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter and animal crackers, soup, cans of corn, applesauce, granola bars, packages of macaroni and cheese, cookies, graham crackers, cans of spaghetti/ravioli, and Trail Mix.
“We’re so grateful for the grant,” Knieper says. Other funding sources for the initiative come from Crossroads Church, and the Stockbridge Community Local Outreach program that provides some food items and donations from a variety of church members.
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. Applications are due on September 1, 2017. For more information on the grant and application process visit: www.abc-usa.org/matthew25/