The Community Foundation of the Ozarks has awarded nine new COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund grants, surpassing $1.23 million in total grants made for pandemic-related needs, and with the Ministerial Alliance of the Hermann Area as one of the recipients.
The grants awarded brought the total competitive grantmaking among the CFO, its affiliate foundations and the Coover Charitable Grantmaking Program to $467,250. The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund grants support nonprofit agencies directly involved in addressing regional needs, particularly for vulnerable citizens, such as seniors, those with food insecurity or health needs. The grants include the Ministerial Alliance of the Hermann Area, which will receive $5,000 to assist low-income families with COVID-19 emergency circumstances. The Alliance is supported by the Community Foundation of the Hermann Area Inc.
Over the past few weeks, the Samaritan Outreach has fielded almost three times the usual number of calls and anticipate an even larger increase as Missouri moves further into the pandemic period. As the economic impact of the crisis tightens family and individual budgets further, area ministers expect the demand on the Alliance’s services to last through at least the next three to six months.
The work of the Ministerial Alliance is constant. The Alliance is the only non-profit in the Hermann area providing comprehensive (food distribution, utility and rent assistance, medical necessities, car repairs, essential transportation) emergency assistance to residents in the Gasconade County R-1 School District. The Alliance’s mission states that the organization exists to meet the emergency needs, both physical and spiritual, of people living in the Hermann area.
According to Pastor Dave Thomas of the Hermann Christian Community Church, the Outreach is fielding calls from people who have never before asked for assistance.
“Some people have always been the ones helping others, and now they are having to ask for help. It’s hard for them,” he said.
Assistance may include food vouchers, assistance with utility bills, help with car repairs or transportation issues, and occasionally providing temporary lodging.
“What is impressive is when we help folks and a month or two later I hear from them again, but this time they are wanting to pay back what we gave them," Thomas added. "I had a lady just last week who called me and gave me back the money we had given her, plus more. She wanted to make sure we had enough to help other people like her.”
The Ministerial Alliance is managed and run 100 percent by area ministers and volunteers, and is funded solely by church collections, community donations, and small grants. Requests to the alliance often come through pastoral referral, police referral, an emergency call line, and at the request of other government agencies. Additionally, other service organizations in the Hermann area refer clients to the Ministerial Alliance to provide the resources and services that their organizations are unable to deliver.
"We recognize that people are God's creation-body, mind and spirit. Ministry involves caring for the whole person, and right now caring for people's physical needs is an urgent matter. Jesus fed and healed people as a sign of His love," said Pastor Beth Duckworth of the United Methodist Church.
Member Churches in the Alliance are Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church; First Baptist Church; Hermann Community Christian; St. George Catholic Church; St. James UCC; St. Paul UCC; Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church; United Methodist Church; and, Swiss Evangelical Reformed Church.
Donations may be made via check to MAHA, P.O. Box 13, Hermann, MO 65041.
The Community Foundation of the Hermann Area is an Affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks based in Springfield.