When you look at your upcoming schedules of “to do lists,” I’m sure it’s full of Lent planning, Conference gatherings, Holy Week preparations and more. In the middle of all these important other tasks, don’t forget to look at applying for the ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant or the ELCA Daily Bread Grants. These resources can enhance the work of your congregations.
Domestic Hunger Grant: “ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grants accompany congregations and their partners throughout the United States and Caribbean as they draw on the strengths of communities to address local issues such as food security, clean water, housing, job access, human rights, policy change, leadership development and more. Together, these ministries are part of a comprehensive approach to breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger — for good.” Grant recipients will show a strong sense of accompaniment, working with individuals receiving resources from the grants to address the root causes of poverty and inequality. Efforts should be holistic, using food to create opportunities for relationship building and meaningful change. Efforts should be sustainable, effective, and respond to needs in a variety of ways. Awards are given for a three-year cycle. The maximum award is $10,000 per year. See elca.org/domestichungergrants for specific requirements and information. Grants will open soon.
ELCA Daily Bread Grants: These grants are available and useful for more traditional feeding ministries completed by congregations. They can assist with fundraising and capacity building and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Grants typically open in the late spring.
Indigenous and Ethnic Specific Ministry Grant Initiative: “The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis have brought into focus the ways in which systems and structures created to ensure basic human needs are met are also seriously flawed and designed to fail historically oppressed communities. In the United States, the data has clearly shown the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic-specific communities of color…. In response, ELCA World Hunger and the ELCA’s Indigenous and Ethnic Specific Associations and Ministries are partnering through grants to respond to needs identified in and through the ELCA’s indigenous and ethnic-specific communities. With the knowledge that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will have a disproportionate impact on communities facing hunger and poverty, these grants will support ministries as they work at the intersections of race, ethnicity and poverty toward building thriving, healthy and resilient communities where all are fed.”
Personal Testimony: The Domestic Hunger Grant powerfully transformed my ministry capacity in two different worship settings. Pueblo de Dios, a mission development in South Dakota, received a Domestic Hunger Grant while I served there. It helped provide food for our Wednesday evening program. Program participants, who were largely from the Hispanic community, assisted in purchasing, preparing and serving the food. Serving and sharing a meal increased the overall participation by youth and their families as well as helped our youth connect to church, caring adults and college students. The connection to college students fostered positive interactions and opportunities between the students and Augustana University. Over time, the program continued to apply for and received grant funding from the Domestic Hunger Grant. The grant provided funding for the overall program and COVID-19 relief efforts.
At First Lutheran in Worthington, we hosted two “Better Together” food packing events. People from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds came together to package food which was bundled with supplemental items. These packing events provided take-home packages once a month for students experiencing food insecurity. The Domestic Hunger Grant enabled these events and program development. During the COVID-19 pandemic, needs in our community increased significantly. The grant funds helped us to “pivot” to providing food via church entryways (when schools were not meeting), boxes of food for families with COVID-19 and more. People from the school system, various organizations and a wide variety of backgrounds were involved with these emergency efforts. With the sustainability provided by the Domestic Hunger Grant, we were able to connect with many individual, congregational and organizational donors. In this way, we were able to continue to meet the significant and increasing needs in our community and were able to connect to the Every Meal program (based out of the Twin Cities). This program has sustained and expanded our efforts to provide culturally-sensitive food for all children who are in need in our school district. The Domestic Hunger Grant helped us build community by involving several area congregations in the food distribution and related events. We are so grateful for the exciting and beneficial path the ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant enabled for our Worthington Community.
Please don’t let the excellent opportunities to apply for ELCA Domestic Hunger, Daily Bread or Indigenous and Ethnic Specific Ministry grants pass you by!! Check out these grants and contact your Domestic Hunger Grant Team with further questions.
Rev. Jeanette McCormick, First Lutheran, Worthington, MN
SW MN ELCA Hunger Grant Team:
Rev. Troy Pfibsen
Rev. John Gabrielson
Rev. Cathy Jones
Rev. Christian Muellereile
Rev. Jeanette McCormick