News and Resources

April 16, 2020

Healthy Congregations & COVID-19

As we work to support the needs of our communities, we realize one of our great strengths is to be able to partner with nearly 100 active United Methodist Congregations that participate in our Healthy Congregations Program.  We are excited to work to provide financial and technical assistance to Health Congregations members as they respond to COVID-19 in their communities.

In these unprecedented times, our Healthy Congregations teams and their local partners are continuing to work to support families, friends, congregations and communities across the Great Plains Conference. We have heard from many of our teams and are impressed not only with their passion and commitment but also their creativity and resourcefulness in responding to rapidly developing community needs.

Our congregations play an important role in supporting our communities and responding to this crisis. Today, we are announcing a special grant opportunity for current Healthy Congregations teams in good standing to apply for up to $500 in additional funding to support ministry assisting with response to COVID-19. Focusing this opportunity on currently established teams allows us to quickly turn around submissions and keep the application form simple.

In terms of how teams might use the resources, we wanted to share a couple of examples of what we have heard from local teams. Several are working to increase support to local food banks and supporting programs such as the Summer Food Service Program, (another available opportunity for HC teams) to help prevent hunger during the crisis.  Other congregations are making face masks for health care providers in the community. A template for making masks is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

While these are just two ideas on how teams can focus their ministry to respond to COVID-19, we hope these resources can provide the flexibility to best help congregations respond to community needs during this time.

Beyond important ministry work, we can also all benefit our communities by being good and supportive neighbors. We asked our friends at the Neighboring Movement to share their thoughts on ways to be a good neighbor in this time of social distancing – available above or via https://youtu.be/rOtySmBzJrc.

Applying for a Healthy Congregations COVID-19 grant

NOTE: this application form is not tied in with your regular team login credentials. To get started, use this link to go to the application form then click the “First Time Applicant” button to set up a login. You will then be able to save and return to your application later. To return to your started, saved application, use this link.

This opportunity is open to all active Healthy Congregations teams in good standing. The simple application form includes information on the process and necessary requirements, as well as potential additional ideas on how to use response grant funds. The form asks for:

  • Church, project director, and Ad Council chair (financial representative) contact information
  • The request amount (up to $500) and project start/end dates
  • Project description in less than 200 words
  • Persons/numbers expected to be served; list of project partners, if applicable
  • A basic line-item budget outlining how funds would be spent

If you have any trouble with the form, please email Jeff jeff@healthfund.org for assistance. Submitted forms will be reviewed by staff; project contacts will be notified with a funding decision or if there are questions. For approved projects, a simple report will be due following completion. Applications are due no later than May 30 and are first-come, first-served while funds remain.

Tip: use the New Applicant link to sign in for the first time.

Together, we will get through this time.  We look forward to further partnering with our Healthy Congregations teams to support congregation-led work to address community COVID-19 needs. Please apply in the coming weeks and be in touch with questions to Katie katie@healthfund.org. Thank you for your leadership and ministry during these challenging times. 

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