While coordinating the Outreach breakfast program, I asked for volunteers to work in our community garden on Saturdays from 7-9am. On the next Saturday 3 people showed up, 2 of whom were homeless. We worked together putting bricks around new garden beds, watering the entre garden, and planting vegetable plants and harvesting produce to be given out on the next day at breakfast. They enjoyed it so much they asked to come back the following Saturday. They continue to come and have spread the word in the community. We are up to 7 volunteers on a regular basis. We give them a $20 stipend donation each Saturday. It’s not much, but they appreciate the money and have told us it gives them a sense of having done something good. As a result of their feedback, we made the commitment to find additional grants in order to bring more homeless volunteers on board. Our volunteers are helping us to grow a garden on Saturdays that feed people on Sundays when they come for breakfast. It’s truly a win win for everyone. God is blessing our ministry and mission to feed our community.
Our community garden is flourishing. One of our regular volunteers who is partly responsible is Frank, who volunteered for about 2 months every Saturday. He also made himself available for other handyman jobs around our church to keep busy. He saved up the money he earned as he was trying to get housing. Recently, we found out he was able to find permanent housing and get off the streets. He still does not have personal transportation and his new home is not on a bus line where he can continue to work in the garden. His energy, hard work, and enthusiasm will be missed. This is truly a “Praise Report”. We are proud of him for working toward his goal of ending his homelessness and finding a home.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day each year and this year New Song Church hosted the first Mental Health & The Church Conference in partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University School of Education & Behavioral Studies.New Song Church was proud to receive $2000 for the 2020 HN granting term. We used those funds as part of the Mental Health and the Church Virtual Conference which was held from 9-4 pm with an after party at 7:30 pm. The conference had 50 people registered (13 of those were youth). The goal of the conference was connecting spirituality and mental health care for diverse communities. This conference was unique in that it also included giving a scholarship of $1,000 to a local Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) Student studying Mental Health Counseling as well as 20 sessions of free counseling to community residents (Covered by the other $1000 from grant $1000). This year Valery Hildago was selected as the scholarship winner. She has a 4.0 GPA at PBA and is eager to support communities of color in mental health counseling. Coach Debbie serves as our Mental Health ministry Leader and coordinated the New Song Mental Health & The Church Conference to shine a light on soul care, resiliency, social justice, suicide prevention, youth services, eating disorders, human trafficking, and emotional health during COVID-19.Debbie leads our ministry where she presents Training & Professional Development opportunities for Churches and Counselors on building mental health awareness, provides low cost and free clinical counseling, navigation and/or referrals services to the community, and lastly, provides support groups such as our YouMoms partnership or Substance Abuse partnership. YouMoms helps mentor teen moms and the substance abuse partnership partners professional men to mentor young men in recovery. The HN grant funds helped provide 20 free sessions to local women. To share a few of their stories within confidentially, one lost their son due to gun violence, one lost their job due to COVID, and one is a single mother who needs parenting coaching and counseling. We provided seamless access to care without a delay in time for service. Thank you HN for an incredible grant experience, your support helped us reach our goal to help the community improve behavioral health and wellness!