By John Nolan and the Outreach Committee
Food pantries are experiencing sharply increased demand as the Coronavirus has caused widespread job losses and forced the closing of schools.
Some of the normal funding sources for community ministries have dried up because of the crisis. The leadership of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati, which has shut down its operations because of the virus, is concerned that there may not be enough money to resume all of its planned home-building projects whenever Ohio starts lifting work restrictions.
St. Barnabas Church is responding by joining with other churches and individuals to make financial contributions to these ministry organizations during the time of increased demand.
The St. Barnabas outreach committee is dipping into the $20,000 outreach budget, generously provided by our congregation and allocated by the Vestry, to send money to the affected organizations.
In the short term, the outreach committee is making these contributions to our designated ministries earlier in the year than usual, in order to speed up the assistance that is needed now.
Individual parishioners may also choose to supplement this support by making their own donations directly to the community ministries.
Here are the details, plus contact information for the ministries for anyone who may wish to make a personal donation:
Interfaith Hospitality Network:
St. Barnabas is a support congregation for IHN, working with our partner, Christ Church Glendale, to shelter and feed the temporarily homeless. Because of these challenging times, IHN is now housing families in hotels instead of in churches, so your outreach committee plans to send its budgeted allowance of $1,500 to IHN now to help defray housing expenses.
For more information or to donate: www.ihncincinnati.org.
IHN also welcomes Kroger gift cards (since homemade food can’t be brought in safely), which can be ordered online and delivered to them at 990 Nassau St., Cincinnati, OH 45206.
Findlay Street Neighborhood House:
St. Barnabas provides food and money to this operation in Cincinnati's struggling West End neighborhood. The number of West End families applying for emergency groceries has increased by 80 families from the prior 200 families. Adding to the problem is that children who usually receive breakfast and lunch at school lost that support when city schools closed.
For more information or to donate: Mail a check to Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses (includes Findlay Street Neighborhood House), 901 Findlay St., Cincinnati OH 45214, or go to the website at www.7hillsnh.com.
For additional information, please contact Margaret Nelsen at (513) 791-4860.
Operation Give Back:
This Blue Ash-based organization, which includes a food pantry, serves needy students in Sycamore Community School District and neighboring areas. St. Barnabas is sending funds to support the food pantry and weekly supplemental food bags. OGB is encouraging money donations to its food pantry by requesting $30 donations (feeds one family for a week). OGB asks that the donations be submitted by April 30.
For more information or to donate: https://e.givesmart.com/events/eTU
The North East Emergency Distribution Services (NEEDS) organization operates a food pantry based in Kenwood Baptist Church, serving northeastern Hamilton County. NEEDS is requesting money donations so it can buy additional food from the Freestore Foodbank for distribution to families.
For more information or to donate: www.cincyneeds.org
Habitat for Humanity:
Because of the Coronavirus, Habitat has closed its Cincinnati-area build locations, its ReStores, and headquarters office. The staff is working from home.
Habitat says the shutdown of the ReStores, which accept donated furniture and other items for resale to support building of homes, has put in jeopardy its remaining plans for 2020. That includes finishing six houses already under construction, 20 additional rehabilitation or building projects, and home repairs for impoverished military veterans.
St. Barnabas plans to send $1,500 in outreach funds now to Habitat. Our hope is to supplement that with proceeds from a planned Habitat benefit concert in August – if conditions improve and the concert can take place – and from our ongoing Panera Bread ministry.