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Mini-grant program fuels parish outreach

By VERONICA AMBUUL
08/19/2016 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. Pastor Bill Chancy, founder and pastor of Grace Be Unto You Church in Colorado Springs, is a fixture in the community. His church has engaged in extensive and longstanding social outreach in the southeast region of the city, including a food pantry and ministry to those who are homeless, in prison or on parole.

However, Pastor Chancy said that he knows that more needs to be done to help people escape the cycle of poverty.

“What we realized is that if people haven’t reached a third-grade reading level, it is a pipeline to prison,” he said. Toward that end, he would like to start a tutoring program for children in the area, and he also wants to do more to help those on parole find stable employment.

“We’re trying to see how we can get people involved, such as retired teachers,” he said.

This fall, Grace Be Unto You Church is receiving a grant for two computer workstations from Catholic Charities of Central Colorado as part of the agency’s mini-grant program. The church is one of nine grant recipients who will receive a combined total of $15,140 for outreach programs. The grants will be used in a variety of ways ranging from emergency funds to providing training for ministries such as BeFrienders.

Holy Apostles Parish will receive a grant for emergency assistance.

“We are constantly bombarded with requests for help with rent, etc.; we’re always in need of funds,” said Maryanne Wright, executive assistant to the pastor at Holy Apostles.

Corpus Christi Parish, meanwhile, is using its grant for a two-day intensive training for BeFrienders ministry.

BeFrienders try to help people going through difficult times by providing a listening ear, said Virginia Sikes, BeFrienders coordinator at Corpus Christi. The goal is not to solve people’s problems but to help them find the solution themselves.

“They find someone who really cares for them,” Sikes said. “Because you’re listening, they seem to hear themselves saying things for the first time. It helps them to understand where they really are and what the problem is. They come up with the answers themselves.”

Other ways that Catholic Charities mini-grants are being used include:
— Holy Trinity Parish is receiving a grant to fund annual training materials for its Stephen Ministry program.
— Divine Redeemer Parish was awarded a mini-grant to continue its food pantry during the summer for children home from school.
— Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish is receiving a grant to cover the cost of counseling for couples and families in the parish.
— St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish is using its mini-grant toward the ecumenical food drive that is taking place during Briarfest, set for Sept. 9-11.

For more information about the minigrant program, contact Corey Almond at 719-866-6510 or calmond@ccharitiescc.org.

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