In its inaugural year, the Western North Dakota Synod Mission Fund awarded $1,040. These funds supported 3 outreach projects led by ELCA congregations and groups in Western North Dakota. Read on to learn a bit about each project and how you could apply for a 2014 grant to support God’s mission and service in your area.
Quilting Ministry in the North Dakota Women’s Correctional Center
The first recipient of a Mission Fund Grant was a group of women from a variety of congregations near the Women’s Correctional Center in New England. These women started a quilting ministry with women who are incarcerated at the Women’s Correctional Center.
To prepare, volunteers passed background checks, and participated in training sessions with staff to equip them for their interactions with prisoners. These volunteers venture into the Correctional Center on a monthly basis to teach incarcerated women to quilt. The quilts produced are then donated to Lutheran World Relief. The program has greatly impacted the lives and faith of both volunteers and prisoners who participate.
The volunteers have also expanded the program to involve others. Now, many of the quilt blocks used are cut by residents at a local nursing home in Bowman. So those who may not be able to go into the prison, are able to participate in God’s work in this project in another way.
The Mission Fund grant was used to purchase batting for quilts.
Baskets for Ranchers
In October of 2013, an early winter storm blasted through southwest North Dakota and western South Dakota, killing thousands of livestock that were not yet moved to winter pastures. Baskets for Ranchers was a project of the Dakota Lutheran Parish of Amidon, Bowman and Rhame to respond to the great losses that affected ranchers and their families faced. Parish members invited community groups and organizations to join them in preparing gift baskets with food, canned goods, gift cards, and even homemade pies. These gift baskets were shared with families in South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota who were impacted by the storm.
The Mission Fund grant was used to purchase items for the gift baskets.
A New Food Pantry for Wilton
In the fall of 2013, Sunne Lutheran Church of Wilton was asked to consider helping launch a food pantry in the Wilton/ Wing area. Some suspected that there was hidden poverty affecting many working families in the area, but it wasn’t until the food pantry was launched that the scale of need was truly apparent. Working with community partners including Sunne Lutheran, the Wilton Senior Center, the local bank, school, other churches, and the Great Plains Food Bank, the Wilton Food Pantry began distributing food in December 2013 and has continued to do so once a month.
In its first quarter, the Wilton Food Bank distributed 9,000 lbs. of food to 90 individuals. This equates to about 7,500 meals in three months. Most of the recipients are considered “working poor,” meaning they are employed but their incomes cannot cover increasing housing costs, living expenses, and food for their families.
The Mission Fund grant was used to help with start up costs and to purchase food from Great Plains Bank.
Would you like to apply for a grant to launch a project in your community?
Applications for 2014 Mission Fund grants are now being accepted. Applications received will be reviewed May 29, 2014. Up to $2,000 is available to be awarded this year.
Funds can be used as “seed money” to help launch or expand a ministry initiative that extends the ministry of the church beyond the walls of the church building. How could you share God’s love with your neighbor?