Written by Staff Reports
More than $100,000 in hunger action grants were awarded in July by Justice and Witness Ministries, thanks to gifts made by UCC members to last year's Neighbors in Need special mission offering.
Thirty grassroots organizations spread throughout 18 UCC Conferences received small but much-needed support for anti-hunger projects, according to the Rev. Maria de Lourdes Porrata, Minister for Hunger and Poverty with Justice and Witness Ministries. The UCC's Hunger Action Ministry works to feed people while addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty. Here are a few examples of funded projects:
* Desert View UCC in El Paso, Texas, works with the West Texas Food Bank to meet emergency food needs and sponsor a senior lunch program in a low-income neighborhood.
* The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, endorsed by the New York Conference, assists low-income janitors, dishwashers, and other service industry employees who have been economically devastated by the events of September 11, 2001.
* The Crossroads Anti-Hunger Center in Salt Lake City, endorsed by the Rocky Mountain Conference, provides food, clothing, and other assistance to homeless and low-income individuals, but also pro-actively advocates for the repeal of the regressive state sales tax on food.
* The Dinner Program for Homeless Women in Washington, D.C., endorsed by the Central Atlantic Conference, provides 300-400 persons with an evening meal while offering employment training.
* Congregacion San Pablo UCC in Humanacao, Puerto Rico, feeds 30 to 40 individuals daily and provides them with a space to shower and wash clothes.
* MetroCare, endorsed by the Rocky Mountain Conference, serves 8,000 people annually in the Denver area and advocates for poor persons on social justice issues. A collaborative project of 30 churches, it never turns away anyone in need.
* Windham Hill UCC in Windham, Maine, participates in the Monday Meal Program, which offers hot meals to low-income persons, primarily senior citizens, in several towns in Maine's Lakes Region.
* The Pioneer Valley Project in Springfield, Mass., endorsed by the Massachusetts Conference, is an interfaith, interracial coalition of 26 congregations and labor unions working to improve economic conditions in the region's neighborhoods.
Neighbors in Need supports multiple ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
In most congregations, Neighbors in Need, which wholly supports the UCC's Hunger Action Ministry, is received on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October.
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess is Minister for Communication and Mission Education for Justice and Witness Ministries.