Below is a letter from a clergy spouse, Carmen McCullough, to Rev. Brian Miller in response to a Catapult missional grant written December 30, 2011. The Church at 301 Dexter received this grant to implement a brown bag ministry to inner city children.
Thank you so much for the generous missional grant through Catapult that we received last week. I wanted to let you know the funds have already been put to work to reach the underpriveldged children in our community and to help fight child poverty.
The "trial run" of our Brown Bag ministry went over great yesterday at Smiley Court Community Center. The kids were very sweet and they all ate their lunches on the bleachers in the gym. We served about 65-70 kids a sack lunch with a whole wheat turkey sandwich, goldfish crackers, unsweetened applesauce, and bottled water. One of the boys I talked with, who asked for another sandwich, told me he had not had anything to eat since the night before, and some of the kids told us they rarely eat lunch when not in school. The percentage of Montgomery County children living in poverty is 29%, and 62% are eligible to receive the free school lunch program. The reality is that the school lunch is their main source for nutritious, satisfying meals during the week. If there’s not enough food in the house, these children can go hungry on extended school holidays when the school lunch isn’t available.
I hope that we can provide this outreach every day during spring break 2012 (last week in March) at Smiley Court as well as at other community centers (there are 25 community centers in Montgomery that serve our children). This ministry has a goal to reach the children as well in future school years, to incude fall break, Christmas break and other school holidays when they do not have access to consistent nutrition. We were able to utilize the grant money provided by the Alabama-West Flordia UMC conference through the Catapult Conference missional funds to help support this and future projects within this ministry.
One thing we noticed was that the younger girls and boys were sitting on the bleachers without anything to do while the older boys were in basketball practice. Maybe our church could provide some coloring books/crayons for them during the extended school holidays, or maybe even provide a Vacation Bible School during spring break so the younger children would have an activity/craft. Just brainstorming...I would need to ask Curtis, the director, what he thought.
Let me know if you have any more input or if you or someone you know would like to get involved in this ministry to fight child poverty in our community. Look at the attached pictures of the amazing children who were reached though the love of Christ yesterday.