Many people in Ohio were already living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet before this unprecedented pandemic began taking its toll. More lose their jobs and health care every month. Times are even tougher for the homeless as shelters struggle for funding and food bank donations are down. Those in need are turning to the Episcopal churches they can count on to provide both physical and spiritual sustenance.
Our congregations are discovering innovative ways to safely continue serving their neighbors. (See our Stories of Hope). Community meals have morphed into take-away food pantry programs; grocery gift cards are donated to homeless families sheltering at motels; emergency assistance is offered to people facing eviction or utility shut-offs.These congregations grapple with growing community needs as their own parish resources are dwindling.The Diocese of Southern Ohio is making emergency Covid-19 funds available to outreach ministries through ECM during this crisis. Six ministries received special emergency funding in April, and another three will receive grants in September with funds raised during the Covid-19 matching grant campaign.Each outreach ministry administers their own grant funds to best serve their own community. Local ministries know what they need:we strive to facilitate funding for people on the front lines doing this essential work.
Parish outreach programs supporting social justice, education and life skills, and at-risk youth education have continued to make a difference during the pandemic. They are needed more than ever.One summer reading program reports that they reached even more children this year due to the transition online.
2020 applications to ECM requested $86,000 in aid. Due to decreased donations in 2019 we were only able to fund $47,000 for 25 different ministries in Southern Ohio last March.The sobering reality is that this was before the pandemic wreaked havoc with the economy.
The annual application process for grants will open again mid-September.We need your help to continue supporting these important programs in 2021.Join us as we all grow in generosity, compassion and mercy. It’s a simple equation in complex times: