Key Victories in 2018

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Each January, as we get ready to send out letters to our donors, we put together a list of some of our “key victories” from the year that has just passed that we can share with donors, supporters, and others who might be interested. Of course, we can’t share everything we did because some of it is confidential or sensitive, but this list gives people an idea of what we do day after day in our shared life and work. Not everybody who reads our stories has seen this list, though, so we thought we’d share it with you this month. Though it’s not our typical story-based newsletter, we like to think these numbers and facts tell a story of their own — a story about God’s work in our midst and the power of love and community to transform lives.

So, here’s a sample of some of the things we were able to do last year with your help:

4,640+ Nights of Shelter
In 2018, Grace and Main Fellowship and Third Chance Ministries provided a little over 4,640 nights of shelter through our network of hospitality houses, assisting with rent and utilities, and supporting hotel stays in several emergency situations. Primarily, this shelter was provided to people struggling with “chronic homelessness” and housing insecurity and with whom we have relationships and share meals and life with regularly. That means that, in the past three years, we’ve provided over 12,000 nights of shelter with your help.

Urban Farm
We had a successful third growing year at our Urban Farm this year as we welcomed new leaders and volunteers into the work with us. We had a regular team of 12 leaders working weekly on the farm through the summer. Several of these leaders cultivated their own garden beds on the farm, choosing to give away a substantial piece of their own produce. Additionally, farm leaders helped cultivate community beds, where 100% of the produce was either given away or used in community meals. Some of the things we grew this year include dandelion greens, radishes, asparagus, turnips, peas, potatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, elderberries, tomatoes, greens, beans, salad, shitake mushrooms, a variety of herbs, many flowers, and a few wild edibles.

Health Collaborative’s THRIVE! Changemaker Award
This year, Jessica Hearne and her team of garden leaders were awarded the Health Collaborative’s THRIVE! Changemaker Award in recognition of their hard work, commitments, leadership, and how they’ve expanded local, urban agriculture for various communities, organizations, and neighborhoods.

Housing Stability
We intervened to stabilize the housing situations of three families with children with a number of short-term, impactful interventions such as predatory debt relief, providing beds and other furniture, assisting with utility bills, paying moving expenses, investigating potentially better places to live, and paying for exterminators, among other things.

Celebrating Sobriety
This year, we celebrated “Carl’s” four-year anniversary, and “Victor’s” three-year anniversary of getting clean and sober. We also celebrated the continued efforts of many to get clean and sober with several accumulating a number of months of sobriety before the end of the year.

Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program (YAEP)
Grace and Main hosted the Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program (45-55 local youth with adult leaders) at the Urban Farm for a day of education, hands-on experience at gardening, a breakout panel, and a discussion of our particular methodologies around the Urban Farm and the Tool Library.

Lake Day
We participated in our Fourth Annual Lake Day with Clarksville Baptist Church in Clarksville, VA. We took 38 people (with cars and vans borrowed from FBC Danville and Chatham Baptist) from our neighborhoods to Buggs Island Lake, had a fantastic cookout cooked by the CBC folks, rode boats around the lake, and some of us even went swimming before being scared away by a thunderstorm. It was an absolutely fantastic and joyful day!

Bats, Birds, and Bugs
We built 35+ bat, bug, and bird houses for use around the Urban Farm and other Grace and Main properties to cultivate local biodiversity and to control harmful insects (especially mosquitoes!) naturally for the benefit of our gardens and neighborhoods. Bug houses provide a space for local pollinators who are also a benefit to our gardens and neighborhoods. Also, two of our leaders completed a Beginning Beekeeping course through the Caswell County Beekeepers Association

Volunteers and Partners
We hosted over 2,100 hours of volunteer service at the Urban Farm, community meals, and hospitality houses. Volunteers come from organizations such as Passport Youth Camp, local congregations, civic groups, and from among our regulars.

Staying Warm
We collected and gave away 60+ coats to folks in our neighborhoods who needed a new coat (or a heavier coat) as the weather turned cold. We also gave away 45+ blankets, several space heaters, and countless warm hats and gloves.

Tool Library Upgrades
With the help of a generous grant from Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, we upgraded the tool library with additional outdoor tool storage. This clears additional indoor storage and allows us to gather and share more lawnmowers and big pieces of equipment.

Thanksgiving
We had two great Grace and Main Thanksgiving Meals during the week of Thanksgiving: 1) a feast to which anybody and everybody was invited with partners, Ascension Lutheran and West Main Baptist, doing the cooking and hosting with our highest turnout of the year for a meal (85+); and 2) a small meal on Thanksgiving day for leaders, developing leaders, and residents of hospitality houses.

Christmas
We helped to provide Christmas gifts for seven children (in four families) by working with the families to buy both needed and wanted things to be given by “Santa” and the families themselves.

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Please consider making a donation to support our continued work at: bit.ly/3CMdonate.

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