Eighteen grants funded. All eighteen! The projects are diverse and worthy, and what strikes me as I review them to write this report for all of you is the depth of commitment and heart that continually manifests as we move through such hurtful times. You respond with compassion, innovation, steadiness, perseverance knowing that despite your best efforts, the poor and homeless numbers will continue to rise, alarmingly, and we will continue to be called to meet these needs of our co-human beings.
I would love to present each of these ministries in depth, but that would simply be too much information, so I’ll resort to groupings.
Far and away, the greatest number of our projects feed the hungry. Thirteen grants were funded which do exactly that. AND, the far majority do much more within that feeding program. They listen; they offer safe, warm spaces when offering meals. They tease out the deeper needs and meet them to the best of their abilities, such as blankets, dry socks, feminine hygiene products, stuffed animals, Bibles when asked. These Episcopalians don’t just stop there. Sometimes they start new complementary programs to meet these other needs. These are the congregations that do this work:
- St. Aiden’s, Portland: nice sit-down meals every week
- St. David of Wales, Portland: Saturday hot lunches from scratch
- St. James/Santiago, Lincoln City: community meals several times a week
- St. John the Divine, Springfield: Pantry Garden Expansion
- Grace, Astoria: Grace Food Pantry serving many seniors with 3 day food boxes
- St. Barnabas, McMinnville: soup kitchen 5 days a week
- St. Mark’s, Medford: fresh food boxes in poorest neighborhood in county
- All Saints, Hillsboro: school backpack program supplementing their every-other-week food pantry
- St. Martin’s, Shady Cove: last week of the month food pantry
- St. Paul’s, Oregon City: St. Paul’s Place community meal
- St. Timothy’s, Brookings: Sunday Sack Lunch, filling out the schedule of offering one meal each day
- St. Michael/San Miguel, Newberg: Feed the Homeless 2019, weekly food bags for hungry kids.
Each of these unique programs offers caring and reliable connection with the people they to serve and listen and are taught by.
But in this diocese we don’t stop there.
- St. Bede’s in Forest Grove offers mini-grants to teachers in an elementary school who, otherwise, buy reams of paper and pencils for kids out of pocket, because very often teachers are the first responders for children’s.
- St. Martin’s in Lebanon continues its distribution of Personal Care Kits, continuing to expand their contents and now adding personal hygiene products for women.
- St. Edwards, Silverton is knee-deep in the construction of tiny cottages for 4 women on church ground and needs more fencing to comply with city regulations.
- Trinity, Ashland picked up a privately-funded project to buy heavy duty sleeping bags for the unsheltered, when the former benefactor had to terminate her funding.
- And Rahab’s Sisters continues to serve heavily and continuously traumatized women who find themselves trapped on the streets, with radical hospitality on Friday nights.
This is what we are called to do, and these are the congregations who have asked for grant money to start, maintain or expand that work. We thank you for your generosity. We are funded solely by the basket raffle at convention, the annual Thanksgiving Offering (please be wildly generous!), and the occasional donation of those whose hearts have been touched in a particular way.
May God continue to bless this holy work,
Pamela Lyons-Nelson, ConvenerDiocesan Commission on Poverty and Homelessness