A $500 Matthew 25 Grant from American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) helped a Silver Spring, MD, congregation run an educational and enrichment program during the summer of 2018 for youth to help alleviate issues of poverty in the congregation’s community.
The grant recipient, New Creation Baptist Church, used the funds to provide food, educational materials, arts and crafts and a field trip for 17 youth aged 4 to 16. Two 3-year-olds accompanied by their parents, who were program volunteers, also took part.
The program used the Vacation Bible School curriculum “24/7 Jesus Makes A Way Every Day!” “In addition to the curriculum, we incorporated other activities to empower and enrich the children,” explains Pastor Ella Redfield. “For instance, we will raise questions not in the materials themselves to help the children relate to their context.”
Redfield adds that for the first time in 2018 young people aged 13-16 served as leaders involved in preparing meals, leading arts and crafts, music and outside activities. “The director, in her 20s, was also new to her role and gained valuable leadership experience,” Redfield says. The enrichment program included a field trip to the Capital One Arena for a basketball game. On the field trip and during other activities, adult volunteers found plenty of opportunities for “teaching moments,” Redfield notes.
New Creation is a small congregation in the Wheaton subdivision of Silver Spring. The subdivision has a large population of residents who are disadvantaged, Redfield says.
In addition to the Summer Enrichment and Empowerment Program funded by the Matthew 25 Grant, the congregation runs a Food Distribution Program and an initiative called “Christmas in July” featuring gifts funded by donations from parishioners. Produce from the Capital Area Food Bank and meats and other food items from Manna Food, another local initiative, support the Food Distribution Program.
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 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/