Holy Spirit Church receives $10,000 Episcopal Charities grant to address food insecurity

Posted on April 8, 2014

Holy Spirit Church in East Contra Costa County — the combined churches of St. Alban’s, Brentwood; St. George’s, Antioch; St. John’s, Clayton; and St. Michael and All Angels, Concord — has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Episcopal Charities for the initial year of their Growing Hope Project.

The Growing Hope Project will help address the problem of food insecurity in Contra Costa County by, in part, increasing education around nutrition, food selection and growing, nutritional food preparation and storage, and building increased self-sufficiency to alleviate food insecurity. The California Food Policy Advocates 2012 statistics show that 11% of Contra Costa County residents are living in poverty, and of children under the age of 18, 15% are living in poverty. As well, more than 150,000 people are fed from the Contra Costa and Solano Food Bank each month.

Growing Hope initially plans to build raised beds at each church site and they look forward to a 2014 summer season of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, onions, rosemary, mint, cucumbers, sunflowers, bush beans, and more. Some of these beds will be used as demonstration gardens to demonstrate what to plant in a community garden plot — or in a backyard — to grow food that can nutritionally supplement regular groceries.  The program hopes to include many young people from local high schools and community colleges in this effort. Growing Hope also plans to help Contra Costa residents negotiate sign up for CalFresh (formerly the Food Stamps program).

For more information on hunger and food insecurity in the United States, Holy Spirit Church recommends reading the book, or viewing the movie, A Place at the Table. Services are being planned by the vicars, the Rev. Amanda May and the Rev. Fran Gardner-Smith, to bless the gardens at the end of May.