June 1, 2009 – The Christian Reformed Church Foundation has released a list of the churches and other organizations that have been awarded final grants from the Sea to Sea Bicycle Tour 2008.

But a simple list only hints at the outreach work these churches and other organizations are doing in the name of Christ. Each of these ministries is following the mandate of Jesus to bring hope and healing into the entire world, especially to the less fortunate.

In all, the CRC foundation has given out about $350,000 in grants to churches and other organizations who have programs that fight poverty in North America and abroad. The first few grants were announced in February. In most cases, the awards are modest and are intended to help groups that have begun or are starting transformational ministries.

Of the $1.5 million in proceeds raised by the tour last summer, a large portion of it went to CRC agencies and groups, including the Reformed Church in America, that are battling poverty in a variety of ways.

More than 200 riders participated in the cross-country tour that raised money to fund poverty-reduction programs around the world.

Jerry Dykstra, executive director of the CRCNA, said he was pleased the CRCNA could give so much to such a wide range of poverty-reduction programs and ministries. He and his wife participated on the final leg of the tour.

In the final round, the foundation gave $10,000 to Urban Promise Ministries in Vancouver, British Columbia, to provide after school programs and summer camps for children, youth, and young adults in under-resourced neighborhoods. The Leadership Development for Youth program mentors and trains youth to be leaders for the younger children’s programs. This grant will help fund the leadership program. Cyclist Hilena Zylstra has become a part of this ministry since the Sea to Sea tour.

Other winners include:

Immanuel Christian Reformed Church – Hamilton, Ontario, got $2,200 to help start a Home with a Heart program in their community. This program is a homemaking school for single moms that teaches them how to effectively manage their homes and gives them a network of support. This grant will help offset childcare and curriculum expenses.

East Valley Reformed Church – Yakima, Washington, received $5,000 to help purchase equipment for its food distribution center called The Pantry. One aspect of this program gives vegetable starts and seeds to individuals currently receiving aid. These participants grow food for their own families and donate a portion back to the pantry. The Sea to Sea funds will go to purchasing a large cooler to store refrigerated items.

Madison Ave. Crossroads Community Ministries Inc. – Paterson, New Jersey, has been given $3,375 to provide scholarships to a summer day camp. This year, funding for scholarships, an important part of this ministry, had been down.

Oakdale Neighbors – Grand Rapids, Michigan, received $7,500 to help start up a bike shop where people can learn how to ride, repair, and refurbish bicycles. Oakdale Neighbors is a community development organization in southeast Grand Rapids that is looking for innovative ways to revitalize the neighborhood.

Artesia City Church – Artesia, California, received $7,500 to help open an Indian Friendship Center in the “Little India” community of Artesia to reach out to the Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim communities. This center will operate as a senior citizen community center, after school program location, wellness center, and occupation, career, and employment desk.

Awake Church – Seattle, Washington, got $7,500 to help educate participants in need in financial matters while helping them save money so that they can move into more stable housing. The Awake Church is located in a heavily transient area of Seattle with many individuals using motels as housing due to lack of resources.

Coit Community CRC – Grand Rapids, Michigan, will use its $7,500 to help fund a community transformation project which provides programs for members of the neighborhood. These programs include community service facilitation, men’s and women’s groups, outreach to ex-offenders, and evangelism/community service/anti-racism ministries.

Community Christian Reformed Church – Wyoming, Michigan, has been awarded $7,500 to help host a Financial Peace University financial and budgeting class to teach community members a new way to look at their finances.

Crosswinds Community Church – Holland, Michigan, has been given $7,500 to help sustain five families with food for one year. The church has a ministry that distributes food to those in need on a weekly basis and builds mentoring relationships with the recipients.

Family of Faith Church – Kennewick, Washington, will use its $7,500 to help mentor a growing population of Karen refugees from Thailand. Family of Faith Church has set up a church learning center where refugees can learn English. This grant will go to fund the center and provide materials for the classes.

First Christian Reformed Church – London, Ontario, will use its $5,000 to bolster a street level arts-based initiative for youth in the London area called the Mess. The program provides a meal, a time for youth to express themselves creatively, and a community for its participants. This grant will help expand the Mess to include a summer session.

Monroe Community Church – Grand Rapids, Michigan, will use its $2,500 to provide food for people in the community. They would like to expand this work by providing fresh produce and planting a community garden. This grant will fund this expansion.

New City Church – Jersey City, New Jersey, has received $7,500 to help sustain a program that works with local youth by creating internship and mentoring opportunities.

On the House Church – Grand Haven, Michigan, has been awarded $1,000 to help set up a new cell group in inner-city Muskegon. This grant will go to funding this group for one year with the hope that after a year the group will be flourishing.

The Journey Christian Reformed Church – Kitchener, Ontario, has been awarded $10,000 to help fund a program called the Love K-W, which encourages members of the church to get out into the community and perform acts of service, and Intercultural (Refugee) Connections, which offers programs and mentors for new immigrants in the area.

North American Affiliate ACLCP – Sioux Center, Iowa, has been awarded $2,000 that will be used in an outreach effort in the Ivory Coast to help provide families with a source of income. This grant from Sea to Sea will help with many of the projects including relocating a feed mill, which would create many jobs, and raising several profitable animals including grasscutters, chickens, and snails.

Caregiving Network, Inc. – Midland, Michigan, was awarded $5,000 to help expand its food pantry with money to go toward the purchase of a walk-in freezer.

Community enCompass – Muskegon, Michigan, will use its $7,500 to expand seminars and workshops for church leaders to help them create development ministries for those in poverty in their own communities. They would like to take this to another level by working one on one with churches to help them develop their own plans and programs.

East Central Ministries, Inc. – Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been awarded $7,500 to help staff a food co-op that serves over 120 families. The ministry also plans to offer classes that will service at least 500 people. Initially these programs were run by volunteers, but it became apparent that some part-time staff was needed. This grant will go to pay for staff to run the food co-op program.

Ionia Celebration Fellowship Prison Congregation – Grand Rapids, Michigan, will uses its $7,500 to hire a Reentry Spiritual Support Coordinator to work with the volunteers and make sure they have the training needed to help inmates make the transition from prison to society.

Lao/Bild Committee of North America – Sioux Center, Iowa, has been awarded $7,500 to help purchase wheelchairs for those who need them, and allow leaders to attend training sessions and pay for staff expense. The Lao/Bild Committee of North America is working in the country of Laos planting churches and aiding the disabled.

Lincoln Nebraska Reintegration Program – Lincoln, Nebraska, will use its $7,400 to expand classes offered to inmates, former inmates, and others in recovery to help them as they reintegrate into society.

Network of Business Professionals – Lombard, Illinois, will use its $7,500 to help in its effort to alleviate poverty through economic development in Nicaragua by mentoring, training, and providing access to capital for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

New Hope Community – Haledon, New Jersey, has been awarded $7,500 to hold a Jobs for Life class, which will provide job training and support for those wishing to find employment.

Streams of Hope – Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been awarded $7,500 to help six churches in the Kelloggsville community provide programming for elementary-age children. This gift will help Streams of Hope to expand to include middle-school-age children.

The Bridge – Orange City, Iowa, has been given $7,500 to build a playground for children its serves. The Bridge offers transitional housing for women and children who are homeless or near homeless in the rural counties of northwest Iowa.

Canadian Sudanese Volunteers for Development – London, Ontario, will use its $10,000 grant to outfit 100 students with school supplies, purchase 45 desks and chairs, and buy textbooks for students in a school in Nairobi, Kenya, for Sudanese refugees.

Christian Veterinary Missions of Canada – Ancaster, Ontario, has been awarded $10,000 to assist the group in its partnerships with organizations in Sierra Leone to help provide impoverished communities with sustainable sources of income by setting up poultry farms.

Grimsby Affordable Housing Partnership – Grimsby, Ontario, will use its $10,000 to bolster its current programs which provide supportive, transitional housing for low income, at-risk residents.

Hannah House Maternity Home – Niagara Falls, Ontario, has been awarded $10,000 help cover costs for program materials, advertising, staff salary, and community counseling in the home that offers young, single moms a 17-week program to help move them away from poverty and towards employability and self-sufficiency.

Sonshine Society of Christian Community Services – Calgary, Alberta, will use its $10,000 to help pay for security personnel, as well as cover the salary and benefits for a follow-up counselor and a child support worker. The group offers residential and counseling programs for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Arab-American Friendship Center – Dearborn, Michigan, has been awarded $7,500 to hire a teacher for English as a Second Language and citizenship classes for Arab Americans who visit the center.

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Association for a More Just Society – Grand Rapids, Michigan, will use its $7,500 to focus on labor rights and provide legal services to people facing human rights challenges in Honduras.

Community Area Resource Enterprise – Gallup, New Mexico, will use its $7,500 to help sustain a program that provides transitional housing for homeless men while they deal with the root causes of their homelessness.

Kingdom Causes Bellflower – Bellflower, California, will use its $7,500 to bolster

Good Soil Industries, which is a nonprofit, temporary employment, landscaping agency that employs recovering homeless people and addicts as they re-enter society.

New Way Ministry – Lynden, Washington, will use its $7,500 grant to help homeless women and children by offering them shelter and other opportunities.

The Micah Center – Grand Rapids, Michigan, will use its $500 to get up and running in its effort to educate and mobilize Christians in the area of social justice.

Word of Truth International Ministries – Tukwila, Washington, will use its $5,000 to expand its programs to the diverse community it serves by providing technology classes and making computers more accessible.

Zuni Christian Mission School – Zuni, New Mexico, has been awarded $7,500 to add a counseling program to help their Native American students in K-8th grade to develop a practical vision for the future.

—Chris Meehan, CRC Communications, Errin Swett, CRC Foundation.