As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to escalate throughout the summer into fall, many struggling local economies in Southern Ohio are even harder hit. Local outreach ministries are scrambling to meet the needs in their community, many focusing on food insecurity.
Matched by a grant from the William Cooper Procter Fund, ECM continued to raise funds targeted for Covid-19 relief until October. Thanks to the generosity of people throughout the Diocese, $25,000 was raised to help neighbors help their neighbors in need.
The following outreach ministries received Covid-19 emergency relief grants directly benefiting beleaguered communities in Southern Ohio:
- Good Samaritan, Amelia’s Food Pantry to Go ministry continues to evolve as food scarcity has increased significantly in Amelia. When they first switched from a community sit-down dinner for 55 people to their drive-in food pantry last March, only one person showed up! Now that the word is out their ministry grows every month. In November they provided food and personal care/cleaning products to 80 families, serving an estimated 320 people. They have partnered with other community groups and local businesses, and enlisted grandchildren and friends to meet the growing neighborhood need. Award: $1,000
- Church of Our Saviour, Mechanicsburg Community Meal ministry has been providing food and fellowship to their neighbors the last Wednesday of every month for nearly a decade. They continue to serve over 70+ people although the sit-down dinner has adapted to carry-out meals with strict safety protocols. Members of the congregation prepare a homemade meal now distributed by masked volunteers. Guests are welcome to visit the winter outerwear closet and choose from the collection of gently used coats, jackets, hats,
snowsuits, gloves and scarves (includes adult and children’s sizes). Award: $2,500
- Church of the Epiphany, Nelsonville Feeding Ministry prepares nutritious and delicious home-cooked dinners every month, but Covid-19 has changed the way they operate. Church members make 150 meals and give each adult 2 carry-out dinners to take home. They are planning to add a second dinner each month because of the grant. Award: $2,000
- St. Peter’s, Gallipolis Loaves and Fishes ministry is celebrating their 25th year as the collaborative effort of 4 denominations who come together to support their neighbors in need. They started small serving about 40 meals each month and are now serving from 250 to 300 meals each month. This ministry, hosted at St. Peter’s, is needed more than ever as the pandemic impacts local economies. Members of St. Peter’s as well as volunteers from the other congregations donate food, cook, and pack the meal, which is now served as take-out. Many of the meals go to a subsidized housing unit that is located next to the church. Award: $1,500
- CityHeart is Christ Church, Dayton’s primary congregation outreach ministry. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and escalating need, CityHeart’s ministry is now 100% emergency assistance for rent and utilities to low income wage earners, both single individuals and working families. The majority of these households do not receive a living wage, rarely have savings, normally living from paycheck to paycheck; they have been greatly impacted by job loss. CityHeart is committed to keep people from becoming homeless by helping to pay rent and assisting with utility bills. Award: $3,500.
- Grace Church in College Hill’s weekly community dinners have transformed to take-away meals during the Covid-19 crisis. They are serving more than 250 meals each Wednesday and the number grows each week. The congregation also helps to support the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). Members of the church support both ministries by cooking, serving, giving food, money and gift cards. Now that IHN is housing homeless clients in hotels rather than in churches, they have asked congregations to donate funds for housing and Kroger gift cards for food instead of casseroles. Award: $3,500.
- Church of Our Saviour / La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador, Mt. Auburn (Cincinnati) food ministry provides two community meals per week, which they have now converted to take-out meals due to the Covid-19 restrictions. They also run a food pantry to provide emergency food, hygiene products, diapers, and cleaning products to those in need. Almost all their guests are minorities and/or immigrants, populations particularly at risk for both Coronovirus infection and for the economic fallout. This high risk population is increasingly unable to feed their families, and many are unemployed. Award: $3,500.
- Transformations is Church of Our Saviour / La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador, Mt. Auburn (Cincinnati) outreach ministry in Price Hill. They work directly with immigrants from Central America and the US-born children of immigrants in the areas of health, education and public policy. As a small organization, they can pivot to address emerging issues. They are launching two self-empowerment projects – sack gardens to grow fresh vegetables in small spaces, and Covid-19 mask production to generate family income. They requested $220 for supplies. Award: $200
- St. John’s in Columbus has two feeding ministries: Street Church (Wednesday dinner) and His Place (Sunday lunch). Because of safe serving restrictions, they now purchase take-out meals to distribute to their neighbors. Awards – Street Church: $3,000 and His Place: $3,500
The outreach ministries in these congregations have worked tirelessly to safely serve their neighbors observing Covid-19 social distancing restrictions. The work they do is always essential in their economically challenged communities, but never more so than during the financial fallout of this unprecedented pandemic.
On March 30, the Diocese of Southern Ohio COVID 19 Financial Aid Task group created a matching fund for ECM emergency relief donations. The William Cooper Procter fund matched every dollar donated for Covid-19 relief to outreach ministries. The ECM committee met in April, September, and October to review applications and dispense $24,000. Applications for emergency funding are still open for the limited funds still available.
These funds are being used to help address food insecurity, support housing relief programs, and provide emergency assistance with utility bills and rent. These grants are not only a financial life-line, but crucial psychological and spiritual support for people serving on the front lines in some of our most economically devastated neighborhoods. ECM and the Diocese are proud to support their tireless work.
Although the Covid-19 matching grant has closed, ECM continues to raise funds for outreach ministries through the 2020 Annual Appeal. Bishop Breidenthal and the Trustees of the Diocese authorized matching funds from the William Cooper Procter Fund for the special 2020 Convention offering in November 2020. This money will be used to support the 2021 annual ECM grant applications to be awarded in February 2021. Application requests, which closed on October 30th, totaled more than $89,000. Every dollar raised by ECM goes directly to these outreach ministries.
For more information about our outreach ministries, please check the ECM website:
Submitted by Andrea Owens