DI’s Church of the Holy Cross ‘adopts’ neighbors in need
Through partnering with the Humanities Foundation, a local nonprofit developer of affordable housing, earlier this spring, members of the church have been able to do just that, explained Pastor Jonathan Bennett.
“Lamar Mowatt, the director of residence services for the foundation, and I were chatting about ways the church could support them better,” said Bennett. “He suggested the adoption program that they have, which I didn’t know about at the time. Any organization, church, civic group, whoever, can adopt one of their properties. It basically means you’re going to make a more concerted effort to help them whenever they have need.”
According to Mowatt, efforts by the church and Bennett have been extremely helpful to those living at Seven Farms Apartments and Seven Farms Village, two affordable housing properties that were built by the Humanities Foundation.
“Pastor Jonathan and the Church of the Holy Cross have partnered with us to be our talent, to be our financial support, to be a listening ear sometimes for our residents by offering counseling,” said Mowatt. “We did a back-to-school bash with them where we collected school supplies for all of the children at the Seven Farms property. They have been a tremendous help from the support standpoint of offering it to our residents.”
The church not only participates in the foundation’s “Adopt a Property” program, they also assist with food distribution every three weeks, after-school mentoring and are looking into getting involved with a plethora of other opportunities, Bennett explained.
“The Humanities Foundation organizes the food to come in on a truck and then we help unload it and distribute it to the residents at Seven Farms Village, which is for the older people there,” said Bennett. “They do another distribution later on that day for the apartments…We’re also looking to adopt or sponsor children for the summer camp program they have. It’s $250 to sponsor a child [through the end of the year]. We have a couple lined up already, but we’re working on getting more.”
With that $250 tax-deductible donation, a child is able to attend a three-week camp at the Seven Farms Apartments, explained co-founder of the Humanities Foundation Tracy Doran. Through participating at Giving Tuesday, a global giving movement that happens annually on Nov. 28, the foundation was able to raise $13,000 to put towards expanding the summer camp and after-school programs.
Although a sizable amount, the foundation is still seeking community donations through the end of the year to reach their goal, Doran continued.
“We’re trying to raise at least $20,000 by the end of the year,” she said. “The summer camp at Seven Farms has been so great. Those kids get to do some really neat things and are exposed to a lot of things that they are not exposed to normally…We’re asking for sponsorships. People can come together to sponsor a child. Any amount of money helps. A business can sponsor a child at the summer camp and then they get feedback about how the camp went and who they helped.”
One of the foundation’s programs in particular was of interest to Bennett. While it is often easy to donate money instead of time, he challenged community members to participate in the after-school mentoring program at Seven Farms Apartments.
“I would love to see more community members doing the mentoring program in the afternoons,” said Bennett. “It’s not a long program but it’s a commitment. I’d love to see the community, in particular, step up. I think that’s the biggest need. I think the temptation is just to throw money or gifts at Christmas and things like that. The problem is, what they really need is people involvement. I know that’s costly, but that sort of committed community involvement will make a difference much more than, let’s say doing an Angel Tree at Christmas or the backpacks during the summer. Those things help, but it’s easy. It’s the harder, one-on-one, setting with the children that’s going to make a bigger difference.”
The Humanities Foundation accepts volunteers at any time. To apply to volunteer or sponsor a child, email Mowatt at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the many programs the foundation offers, some of which are not listed in the article, or to donate, visit www.humanitiesfoundation.org.