Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana will be awarding grants for “Episcopal Community Gardens” to assist parishes within the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana with their community garden projects. Grant awards up to $1,000 can be used for general costs and supplies. ECSLA hopes this will encourage individual parishes to grow their community through common goals while creating sustainable ministries that serve both the congregation and local community.
We are looking for parishes who have already begun their garden as well as parishes who have planned to begin a garden, but do not have the funds. ECSLA is asking for proposals to include the following information: name of parish and rector, location of garden, name of project leader, brief synopsis of garden plan, short statement about what makes this garden unique, and materials to be purchased with the grant.
If you are interested in applying for the “Episcopal Community Garden” 2013 grant, please visit www.ecsla.org/grants and download the RFP. Email it to email@example.com by the end of the day on Monday, April 22nd, 2013.
Episcopal Community Services awards scholarships for the purpose of advancing the education of African American students through need-based partial scholarships to attend primary and secondary schools that offer rigorous curricula in preparation for entry to and completion of college. To learn more about the life and legacy of Blessed Frances Joseph-Gaudet, go to the Gaudet Fund page or to download a scholarship application, click here.
The deadline for submission of applications for the 2013/14 academic year is March 30, 2012.
- The Frances Joseph Gaudet funds are to be used solely for the education of Black African Americans.
- Gaudet Scholarships will be awarded to provide need-based partial scholarships to Black African
American students. Priority will be given to students living within the Diocese of Louisiana attending Episcopal Schools.
- The Report of Family Contribution (School Report) from School and Student Service for Financial
Aid or a report by ISM FAST and a contribution from the student’s school, provided that said school awards need-based financial aid, are required for consideration of a Gaudet Scholarship award.
- Scholarships will be awarded to individual students. Funds will be disbursed to the school on behalf of the student.
- A student who is awarded a scholarship in a given year is eligible for awards in future years, provided that student fulfills the normal application guidelines each year.
- Applications for the 2012-2013 academic year are due to Episcopal Community Services (ECS) by Friday, April 5, 2013.
by Eli Coppock, Living With Purpose Fellow (’12-’13)
When I talk to people in New Orleans or even at home, they often ask me why I work in Central City, or rather why I am happy working in Central City. My immediate answer to them is “because the organization that I work with helps three neighborhoods in Central City.” Then I get the question I don’t like to hear from those in New Orleans, “how can you work with those people in the ghetto?” My simple polite answer back is usually something along the lines of “because they asked for my help.”
There is a stereotype that I am learning about while working in New Orleans; if you live in Central City you are clearly either homeless or in extreme poverty, have been in jail, are typically involved in a murder or drug deal, and you live in the ghetto. Honestly, I can understand this stereotype being true, if you only believed what you read in the Times-Picayune and what you saw driving straight through Central City. If you took the time to walk through the neighborhoods, you would probably meet Ms. Wanda Myers, a retired grandmother with many children and grandchildren who live throughout the city. Ms. Myers has lived in Central City all her life, is known by everyone who lives around her, and is very active in the Faubourg Lafayette Neighborhood Association (she is the president). Ms. Myers along with many of the residents of Faubourg Lafayette (one of the neighborhoods within Central City) welcomed me whole-heartedly into the neighborhood and into their homes.
I am a neighborhood coordinator with Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative, what this means is I work with one of the three neighborhoods of Central City; the three are Faubourg Lafayette, Faubourg Delassize, and Faubourg Livaudais. I work with the Faubourg Lafayette Neighborhood Association, helping them with events, interviewing residents, and creating spaces for residents to speak about the issues in their neighborhood. All of the residents are home owners, usually families, low to middle-income and fairly well educated, all are very passionate about making change in Lafayette, and all are passionate about making Lafayette a respectable neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. That is the summary of my job, as well as why I love my job. Every day I work with passionate individuals who want to make their neighborhood a better place to live. I help with events like “Safe Trick-Or-Treating” where I talk to residents like Ms. Wanda Myers, who want to hold these events to show New Orleans that Central City is not a ghetto, like it is currently labeled. So when I am asked why I work with “those people in the ghetto” my long answer is because I work with passionate hard working people, who want to make a difference in their neighborhood.
by Lillie Martin
A mobile pantry open to the public takes place at St. John Baptist Church on Panola Street, New Orleans, the first Wednesday of every month. The goal is to provide healthier food options for many of the struggling residents of the Pigeontown neighborhood. The problem isn’t just the inaccessibility of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, but also the high prices are out of range for many in the area.
Linda Mathies from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church saw a need in the area for such an event, and thus the Carrollton Area Food Pantry was founded. St. Andrew’s formed a partnership with Chapel of the Holy Spirit, providing an intern responsible for volunteer coordination, and St. John Baptist Church, providing the space for the mobile pantry. Since the opening day on August 1, dedicated volunteers from all three congregations show up each month to distribute fresh food provided by Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans & Acadiana.
The presence of the mobile pantry is spread through word of mouth, mostly through St. John Baptist church members, and also flyers that hopefully will reach a wider audience.
Channell Scott, 18, comes with her grandfather, who is on food stamps. She explains that food banks, like the Carrollton Area Food Pantry, are particularly necessary towards the end of the month as paychecks are running out as well as during the summer when children aren’t provided with school lunches.
“Even the homeless can come and receive food,” says Channell, who also believes that this is not a permanent solution to the food issues in the neighborhood, but rather something that helps people get back on their feet in a rough patch.
The Carrollton Area Food Pantry is meant to encourage religion and interfaith works by showing people that God has a way of working things out and helping faith meet real need. This ministry is an opportunity to share and can be the catalyst for spiritual growth with the impact of literal aid.
One afternoon this summer, St. John’s pastor, Rev. Don Boutte, and his wife went to their knees in prayer asking God to provide a way to feed the hungry people his church serves. The next day Linda Mathies called inquiring about St. John’s willingness to join in this partnership. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Chapel of the Holy Spirit had everything in place but a location to start this ministry. Not only did St. John Baptist Church have available space but they could bring into the partnership a long history of relationship building throughout the neighborhood. God working things out indeed!
While there are no tangible plans for expanding in the future, Deacon Marc Smith of St. John’s discusses the need for such a program and how to make it as accessible as possible, “All churches should help the community and not just the church community. These mobile pantries need to be weekly, and all over the city.” In his mind, they “feed spirituality and faith,” but there also has to be a more permanent solution for aiding the neighborhood.
All three churches praise the interfaith and interracial community building and outreach work. Each month the Carrollton Area Food Pantry serves about 165 families and brings spiritual peace to both the volunteers and those in need.
by Pamela Marquis, MSW
Another Sunday morning and the air in St. George’s Episcopal Church is redolent with the heavenly scents of breakfast: freshly-brewed coffee, sizzling savory sausage and crusty biscuits rising in a steaming hot oven. The kitchen is humming with the efforts of a dedicated core of volunteers getting ready to serve a hearty breakfast to the many guests waiting to enter the church’s Dragon Café.
The cafe began in the tumult of post-Katrina New Orleans. St. George’s took on the task of feeding the many hungry people who came through their doors in need of a hot meal, companionship and solace. That ministry has continued and evolved through the years.
Two years ago the decision was made to shift from serving dinner two nights a week to serving breakfast once per week. Though the decision was primarily economic (a nutritious breakfast is cheaper to fix than a nutritious dinner), the church soon discovered the many benefits breakfast offered the hungry at-risk population they serve.
“Breakfast provides our guests incentive to get up and eat a hot meal rather than less healthy alternatives,” says Thaddeus Azore, a security guard who’s worked with with the program since its inception. “Stability in people’s lives is so important. Lots of people struggle moment to moment making lifestyle decisions. And sometimes they make the wrong decision in that moment simply because they are hungry. There aren’t bad people, just people who make bad decisions. So the fact that they’re going to eat a good meal can help make their next decision a better more positive one.”
“The Dragon Café is a major part of who St. George’s is,” says Kelly Eldridge, volunteer coordinator. “It is a big part of our mission to feed the hungry. This kind of fell into our laps after Katrina and has blossomed into what it is now. We have a very simple hope that at St. George’s, no one ever leaves hungry.”
Come rain or shine the cafe doors opens every Sunday morning. The numbers vary from week to week but Eldridge says on average they serve about 90 meals between 8:30 and 9:30 am. The guests not only received a hot breakfast but a nutritious sack lunch as well.
“It also gives the guests a change to sit down and have some fellowship,” says volunteer Tom Forbes. “We don’t just hustle them in and then hustle them out.”
The parishioners also often sit down and share breakfast with their guests joining into lively discussions about the Saints, the weather and the economy.
“This is a one of the few places I feel safe,” says Anna, a woman who comes to the breakfast on a regular basis. “This is just so clean and homelike.”
Eldridge, as many of the volunteers, is passionate about their work because she sees the difference it makes in the lives of the people they serve. She tells of a hand-written note the church received in January of 2010. It said:
“Dear Good People: Here is a small contribution towards the Dragon Café. I have just brought my son to Asheville and he’s told me about having meals at your church. Your program has probably saved his life. I am deeply, beyond words, grateful.”
More information about the Dragon Cafe can be found: http://www.stgeorge-nola.org/dragon-cafe