Pennies and Nickels
One of the mission projects at Grace UCC (Flemington, NJ) is our Pennies and Nickels program. Members and friends bring their loose change to church on Sunday mornings and place it in the silver Change Bowl. The children of our congregation make the decisions about where to direct the funds collected.
The following page describes some of the causes that we’ve supported through this simple program. (Church World Service (CWS), Kiva, Smile Train, International Aid/ HydrAid, Heifer International, Amity Foundation, and Feeding America). Through this program, we turn our smaller possessions into larger ones for those in need…
Kiva is a microlending site that provides small loans (as low as $25) to help people in developing countries (and around the world) start or improve their lives by enabling them to start or improve their businesses. Here’s a YouTube videothat has an excellent explanation of what Kiva does. Below are two links to resources sponsored through this program:
During this Thanksgiving season (November, 2011) Grace UCC, per the children’s choice, was able to make a donation to Feeding America which amounted to the provision of 7,200 meals!
1,050 meals in 2010.
Summer of 2010: five children fed for the whole summer
25 blankets via CWS’ Blankets + Program.
Pair of pigs (March, 2010)- CWS’ animal sharing program.
Assist the survivors of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. Your gift will help the people affected by this disaster as Church World Service works to provide life-saving supplies now and essential assistance as they rebuild. Here at Grace UCC, we did just that (01-13-2010) with our pennies and nickels- $200.00…we will give more.
After months of drought, families struggle to feed their children and themselves. Where grain is the community’s food staple, hunger can be averted until the rains return, and the fields pour forth with new crops.
A two-month supply of staple grain for a family costs only $30. Here at Grace UCC, the week before Thanksgiving of 2009, we were able to purchase, six months worth of grain for families struggling to eat. We were able to do so with those pennies and nickels, dimes and quarters Thanks to all who bring their change to Grace UCC on Sunday mornings- with your giving others are given hope and help.
In memory of Allan Staats Meyners: Per request of a sister church, Christ Congregation in Princeton (where Allan’s mother and step-father have attended for years; where Allan would bring his goats for the live nativity scenes; and where her members have been financial and spiritual supporters of Grace UCC), we are pleased and honored to obtain one goat in memory of Allan through our pennies and nickels program here at Grace UCC…see below…and in memory of Allan Staats Meyners who loved to raise goats.)
More than 18 million American children rely on school lunch programs. When school’s out, they have no dependable source of food. You can help feed a child all summer long…and we at Grace UCC did just that…with just those pennies and nickels a child is now (summer of 2009) receiving needed food…thank you!
As hard as it may be to believe, over 1 BILLION people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. This clean water crisis causes the death of more than 10 million people per year- HALF of whom are children who lack the immune system to fight off waterborne diseases. Our revolutionary product, HydrAid™ — formerly Plastic BioSand Water Filter™ — can strain out 85-99% of bacteria and 100% of parasites for only $32. International Aid will distribute over 300,000 of these water filters. You can give a family a lifetime of clean water by purchasing a HydrAid™ BioSand water filter today! (Watch the moving YouTube below.) Here at Grace UCC we did just that. We purchased one of these filters to allow an entire family to now have clean water. Thanks for those pennies and nickels!
World Water Day was on Sunday, March 22, 2009. Since then our goal was to “raise up” enough pennies and nickels to purchase five more filters. As of May 21, 2009 we did just that! Now, six filters have been purchased and distributed to six different families who now have access to clean drinking water- thanks to you and your efforts…and those pennies and nickels.
Emergency Food Package
Imagine losing your home and everything in it from an earthquake like the one that devastated Pakistan in 2005. A food package, like the ones we provided in Pakistan, contains emergency food supplies for a family of five for a month. The packages typically include wheat flour, rice,cooking oil, sugar, tea, salt, a box of matches, and soap. These essential items can help a family make it through these terrible circumstances. Here at Grace UCC we were able to donate (Feb., 2009) one emergency food package (enough food to help take care of a family of five for one month) with “just” those pennies and nickels. Thank you!
Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT)
A little packet that can save a life! One of the most effective tools in reducing mortality among at-risk infants and children, ORT is a mixture of salt and sugar in clean water that can prevent dehydration brought on by diarrhea — the cause of death for two million children a year in the developing world. Packets are inexpensive — $10 will buy enough to prevent dehydration in 11 children. What a difference your gift of ORT can make to an ailing child! Here at Grace UCC we were able to donate enough packets to help 55 children this February 2009. Amen and Amen!
Solar stoves are a great way to provide a reliable and sustainable source of clean energy. In China, the Amity Foundation, a CWS partner, provides solar energy stoves for farmers in Qinghai province. In Germu City, where Tibetan villagers traditionally use animal dung for cooking, the sanitation and living conditions improved after Amity introduced solar stoves there. Your gift of a solar stove improves the environment and the lives of struggling farm families. At Grace UCC we were able to buy one stove with those pennies and nickels this February 2009. Thank you.
Unlike many charities that do many different things, The Smile Train is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery…This is our mission:
To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.
Until there are no more children who need help and we have completely eradicated the problem of clefts. Here at Grace UCC, in September 2008, we were able to give, via our pennies and nickels, the money to provide for two children’s surgeries. Thank you!
A Water Buffalo, Rabbits and Chicks!
In honor of Clint and Judy’s fiftieth wedding anniversary many of their family members came to church recently with literally pounds and pounds of pennies and nickels. So many that Grace UCC was able to obtain:
Another water buffalo:
Another rabbit hutch and two pairs of rabbits.
Another wire chicken coop and fifty more chicks.
What a great way to honor a couple’s wedding anniversary! (See below for futher details of what these gifts mean to those in need.)
These four-legged tractors provide a struggling farm family with the power to significantly increase their food production, as well as a strong back to carry produce to market. A water buffalo translates into increased income, better health, and the chance for children to go to school. This big animal makes an even bigger difference. Here at Grace we donated to date (August, 2008) two buffalos. And, we did so with those pennies and nickels. Thanks!
Opportunities for Women- Microcredit loans
Small loans provide start-up capital for women’s groups to jump-start a business enterprise. Once the initial loan is repaid, it becomes part of a revolving loan fund for other women. Madam La Vie Saint-Phillip is secretary for one of these CWS-supported community banks in Haiti: “For us, the priorities are to send our children to school, provide food and medicine for our families, and add to the capital of the community bank. We are able to finance agricultural and small manufacturing enterprises that sell rice, salt, sugar, beans, oil, flour, kerosene, soap, and matches.” This is a gift that really multiplies! Grace UCC was able to give one full loan for a woman or a women’s group to start their own business- with just those pennies and nickels…
Seeds and Tools
For struggling farmers, hoes and shovels are lifelines of hope — tilling the soil, planting seeds, and clearing weeds. Simple, inexpensive garden tools and seeds allow farmers to grow vegetables and other food crops to feed their families. For example, in Sierra Leone and Angola, countries striving to recover from years of civil war, tools and seeds from Church World Service provide former combatants with a reliable source of income, an essential ingredient for a lasting peace. Here at Grace, with our pennies and nickels, we were able to give one set of seeds and tools. Seeds and tools are gifts that keep on giving
Cute and useful, chicks improve the diet and income of struggling farm families. In Indonesia’s Aceh province, Chicksfor example, Church World Service has provided chicks to groups of livestock farmers whose livelihood was wiped out by the devastating earthquake and tsunami. In addition, the farmers are learning about new techniques of animal husbandry to make their flocks healthier and more productive. Here at Grace UCC we were able to give to date (August, 2008) over one hundred chicks and two chicken coops! With our little pennies and nickels, others are rebuilding their homes and their livelihoods. Chicks are small, and so are pennies and nickels, but they can make a big difference!
When disaster strikes overseas or here at home, Church World Service blankets provide warmth, comfort, and, most importantly, the feeling that someone cares in a time of trouble. For example, CWS assisted tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Over 27,000 blankets were provided to the affected communities along with other urgently needed emergency supplies. A CWS blanket not only provides needed protection, it brings a ray of hope to people when they need it most and reminds them they are not alone. You, the members, friends and visitors to Grace UCC, were able to donate ten of these blankets with “just” our pennies and nickels…
Water Jugs for Life… Jerry Cans
When families and communities have been devastated by a disaster or violence and have lost their belongings, basics like water jugs (or jerry cans, as they are called), allow them to carry clean water for drinking and cooking. For example, in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Church World Service has provided jerry cans and other essential emergency supplies to families displaced by the violence in that war-torn area. A jerry can is a very simple tool, but one that assists families to survive in the most difficult circumstances. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving! Here at Grace UCC we were able to give eight of these water cans with those pennies and nickels…thanks!
In Case of Emergency…Shelter Kit
A shelter kit can mean the difference between life and death to a family displaced by a disaster. Shelter kits include a family-sized tent, ground sheet, plastic sheet, two iron poles, and four blankets. CWS shelter kits provided essential protection to families displaced by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and to earthquake victims in Pakistan who faced a harsh mountain winter with no home to call their own. When one’s home has been swept away, shelter kits provide warmth and welcome protection from the elements – a place to begin anew. Grace UCC was able, with those pennies and nickels we all have in our pockets, in the car, in our drawers, to give one complete shelter kit. Imagine, an entire family housed with so little…
Rabbits can help struggling rural families increase their income. Rabbits are easy to care for and are famously prolific. For Charity Wutor, from the Volta region of Ghana, rabbits are a critical, even essential, source of income for her family; “My rabbits are like money in the bank. Now I know where my children’s school fees, books, and uniforms will come from. I don’t have to worry about that. Thank you and God bless you for helping us in this way!” Here at Grace UCC we were able to give, with those pennies and nickels, two pairs of rabbits and a rabbit hutch. Rabbits, a gift that will grow rapidly, multiplying your generosity… like rabbits!