ECS-NJ Awards $83,330 in Fall 2022 Grants

Contributed by: John Gallup, ECS-NJ Grantmaking Team

In October, Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey (ECS–NJ) awarded $83,330 in grant funding to projects in 7 churches across 7 counties in the Diocese of New Jersey, increasing the grants awarded since ECS–NJ’s inception to more than $300,000.

These grants will fund a new initiative or the expansion of an existing ministry in a significant way. Each project addressed one or more of the following objectives:

  • Meeting human need in underserved and marginalized communities, especially communities of color
  • Encouraging advocacy for issues relating to social justice, including spearheading new advocacy efforts, particularly those affecting underserved or marginalized communities
  • Engaging, collaborating, and partnering with other organizations, including faith-based, secular, community, governmental, etc.
  • During the Fall grant cycle 8 applications were received. These projects focused on feeding the hungry, bridging language and cultural barriers, helping immigrants get established in the community, and providing medical equipment to meet the needs of the community.

Applications were reviewed by 11 volunteer grant readers from throughout the Diocese of New Jersey and approved by the ECS-NJ Advisory Council. ECS-NJ also had two grant counselors who gave feedback on draft proposals with an eye towards making them stronger, a process that will be in place in the spring as well.

If your congregation is considering applying for a grant this spring and would like to talk to a member of the grants team, please email ECS. We want to help.

Grace Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Community Outreach Language Learning Center
Grant Amount : $15,000

The Community Outreach Language Learning Center will bridge the gap between two communities in the Plainfield area, by bringing together English speakers and Spanish speakers who have children or work with children in the Plainfield Community Outreach VIP after school program. The Plainfield community has changed dramatically over the past several years and has gone from predominantly African American to predominantly Latinx. This ministry advocates not only for the Spanish speaking population but equally advocates for the English speaking population, which desires to communicate with the Spanish speaking population in their community.This grant will provide funding to staff high-quality educational and enrichment programs that will enable parents and staff to improve communication and promote positive, appropriate social interaction with peers and other adults. The classes will start in January and will involve about 40 adult students by the end of the year.

St. Barnabas-by-the-Bay, Villas

Saint Barnabas Cares—Meeting Changing Needs in Our Community
Grant Amount : $8,000

Saint Barnabas By-the-Bay is truly blessed to have two established ministries in the Saint Barnabas Cares Thrift Store (2014) and the Saint Barnabas Cares Food Pantry (2008). The current efforts are well supported in time, talent and funds by the congregation and the greater community.

Grant funds will support expanded operations of these ministries Particular improvements include:

  • sending clothes to the local elementary school for kids who need a change of clothes during the day;
  • creating hospitality baskets of clothing, food, and key supplies like plates, cups, and personal hygiene products for families displaced by eviction or emergencies;
  • expanding the number, diversity, and freshness of the food choices available in the food pantry;
  • and offering food pantry home delivery to homebound seniors.

These changes respond to requests from their clients and their many community partners.

St. Elizabeth, Elizabeth

St. Elizabeth’s ServSafe Food Handler program
Grant Amount : $15,000

St. Elizabeth’s ServeSafe Food Handler Program will prepare clients in the community to qualify for jobs in the food services industry, particularly in local neighborhoods and at Liberty Newark Airport. The State of New Jersey and many research sources testify to the tremendous value this program will provide to local residents, local business communities, and the food industry in the greater Elizabeth area. Grant funds will be used to purchase the equipment needed to offer the online Food Handler Course for Food Safety and refresher courses, as needed.

The St. Elizabeth’s, Elizabeth’s ServeSafe Food Handler Program builds on the successes of its earlier ESL/GED/Computer literacy program and further assists local residents, especially recent immigrants, get secure jobs that provide a living wage and benefits. They hope to help hundreds of residents get such jobs over the course of three years. This work is part of the way St. Elizabeth’s and its congregation are actively engaged in the social, economic and spiritual growth of its urban neighborhoods.

St. James Eatontown

SJE Medical Equipment Ministry
Grant Amount: $9,000

The Medical Equipment Ministry project will engage, collaborate, and partner with faith-based (local churches, synagogues, mosques, Jersey Shore Rescue Mission), secular (Elks, Lions, VFW, etc), community (local hospitals, Red Cross, subsidized housing communities, Lunch Break in Red Bank), and governmental (Monmouth Office on Aging) organizations. The ministry will accept donations of gently used medical equipment or financial contributions. The equipment will include crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, hospital beds, shower chairs, commode chairs, CPAP machines, adult diapers, and more.

St. James Medical Equipment Ministry will advertise the availability of that equipment to meet human need, aid healing, and alleviate suffering, particularly in underserved and marginalized communities and communities of color. This ministry at St James is dedicated to improving the lives of our clients and their families through the redistribution of donated medical equipment, at no cost to them. Know God’s Love, Show God’s Love, Share God’s Love.

St. Mary’s Burlington

Ladle of Love: getting food to more people… easily and reliably
Grant Amount : $8,330

St. Mary’s Ladle of Love (LOL) is a food ministry managed by church members and operated by community volunteers from all over Burlington County. It provides $40-60 in groceries to 125-200 individuals who live in 50+ households. The ministry is open three times a month.

St. Mary’s Ladle of Love was expanded from a meal service to a food pantry in 2020 thanks to a grant from the Food Bank of South Jersey. This ECS grant will expand that ministry. Grant funds will be used to order and store a greater amount of food, especially through the purchase of another freezer. In addition, the purchase of small grocery carts will allow guests to more easily—and safely—transport their groceries through the pantry aisles to cars. The reminder of the funds will allow LOL to purchase dairy products, eggs, and meat/chicken protein, as needed to supplement food donations.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Pleasantville

Community Development and Outreach

Grant Amount : $15,000

In pre-covid times St Mary’s Pleasantville operated successful English as a Second Language and Homework Help programs. Under a larger umbrella of community development and at the request of the families, grant funds will be used to reboot those programs and to add a new component that helps Pleasantville’s newest residents navigate job applications, government assistance, drivers’ license exams, and other kinds of practical concerns.

Grant funds will allow St. Mary’s to move forward with the goal of creating a family of learners which become a community of learners. Their ultimate goal is to create a pathway for non-English speaking residents to, through language, become full, active members of the community.

St. Peter’s Clarksboro

St. Peter’s Community Food Pantry
Grant Amount : $15,000

During the last 30 years, a major avenue of help for those experiencing food insecurity has been The Blessing Store of the Evangelical Methodist Church, a neighbor and partner of St. Peter’s in Clarksboro. The Evangelical Methodist Church is unable to continue with that ministry, and St. Peter’s has committed to opening St. Peter’s Community Food Pantry. They are excited to be creating something new from something with a long history.

The goal of the grant is to expand current food distribution and to reach farther into minority and underrepresented segments of the county. With this ECS-NJ grant St Peter’s will expand, not only the quantity, but the quality of food that they offer, including fruits and veggies, dairy products, as well as non-food items that cannot be purchased with federal or state funds. Grants funds will also support the rehabilitation of a space to store and set up delivery of food.