Thursday, January 29, 2009

Matching grant program for hunger relief gets off to a good start.

Church of the Brethren staff report that the new "Domestic Hunger Matching Grant" program encouraging Church of the Brethren congregations to support local hunger programs has gotten off to a good start.

As of the end of January, 42 congregations in 16 states have issued grants to local hunger programs, reported Howard Royer, manager of the fund. "The amount of matching funds from the denomination averages $437," he reported. "Of the $50,000 committed to this effort by the Emergency Disaster Fund and Global Food Crisis Fund, $19,000 has been expended."

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund, in partnership with the Stewardship department, announced the program at the end of 2008 to encourage congregations to make a special effort this winter to respond to the needs of local food pantries and soup kitchens. Congregations will be matched dollar for dollar--up to $500--for a gift to one local food bank or soup kitchen.

The first congregational application came from Whitestone Church of the Brethren in Tonasket, Wash. With the matching grant program, the congregation's check for $600 written to the Tonasket Food Bank has become $1,100. Whitestone has a membership of 26, according to the "2008 Church of the Brethren Yearbook."

To qualify, a congregation must raise new funds for the food crisis, fill out and return an application form by March 15, and enclose a copy of the check it writes to the food bank or soup kitchen. Matching checks will be issued in the charity’s name and mailed to the requesting congregation for forwarding to the local organization. Grants will be issued until the $50,000 set aside for the program by the two funds is exhausted.

"In projecting responses, we thought 100 congregations might be a reasonable target. With another month to go, the participation is likely to exceed that number considerably," Royer said.

Go to for the application form for the matching grant program. For more information contact Justin Barrett in the Global Mission Partnerships office at 800-323-8039 ext. 230.

Source: 1/29/2009 Newsline

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