The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) has approved grants totaling $164,400 to 10 self-help projects in the United States.
The money comes from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
Projects range from a bag-making cooperative in rural New York to a group using hydroponic gardening for food and profit in Pasadena, Calif.
SDOP participates in the empowerment of economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
Grants were approved at SDOP’s national committee meeting here Jan. 17-19.
The projects and grants:
- Lanvale Towers/Canal Courts Tenant Association, Baltimore, Md., $8,500 to a high school diploma/G.E.D. and computer literacy programsdop
- Youth Economic Group, Liberty, N.Y., $20,000 to a bag-making cooperative of youth in rural upstate New York that will enable them to learn business and leadership skills.
- Mothers for Justice, New Haven, Conn., $12,000 — Through face-to-face surveys and a video documentary, these group members — some of whom have experienced homelessness and the challenge of locating handicap-accessible affordable housing — will tell their stories to advocate for affordable housing.
- Federation of Greene County Employee Federal Credit Union, Eutaw, Ala., $20,000 for the purchase of a building to relocate the Credit Union, which is member-owned and controlled and provides low-principle loans and banking business in of one of the poorest counties in Alabama
- Shuqualak Community Action Group, Shuqualak, Miss., $5,000 for renovations to a recreation building, which is a central location for community activities
- Brevard Drop-In Center, Melbourne, Fla., $20,000 to this peer-to-peer developmental project in which participants with mental health challenges will receive appropriate training and in turn provide training to others. The training will help group members gain employment skills.
- Attala County Self-Help Cooperative, Inc., Sallis, Miss., $20,000 for a tractor with a front-end loader to move chicken manure. Use of chicken manure is an excellent way of improving grass production for cattle and helps increase vegetable yield. This equipment will make it easier to handle, transport, load and spread to member’s pastures and gardens.
- Feed Ourselves Project, Pasadena, Calif., $20,000 — These group members will address poverty and hunger by using hydroponic gardening to grow food for group members and to sell excess produce to the local community to generate income.
- Low-Income Families’ Empowerment through Education, Oakland, Calif., $20,000 — This project invests in the leadership development of members and children in the state CALWORKS welfare-to-work program and increases involvement in policymaking processes that affect its members.
- An English Acquisition and Human Rights Project, Blackfoot, Idaho, $18,900 to help this group of Latino and Haitian immigrants address the prejudice, economic oppression and labor exploitation that impact them by enabling them to form a community group that provides information on labor rights.
Committee members also visited with SDOP community partner Homeless Solutions of Clearwater, Inc. project members Janet DeRonda, Jeffery DeRonda, Mike McCarren and Jerry Sanders as well as Bill Trautwein of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church. The church is supporting the group by allowing it to use a room to receive donations from other Presbyterian churches in the area. Group members shared with the committee the upcoming opening of their thrift store and their experiences of being homeless.
The committee also heard from Libby Young, associate chaplain at Eckerd College, about its ongoing efforts to hear from and share better ways of engaging with young Presbyterians.
Other guests included the Rev. Elizabeth Coleman; Toni Carver-Smith, Compassion, Peace and Justice associate director for mission effectiveness and administration; and Sam Locke, director of Special Offerings.