A Day of Surviving, Bridges Alliance of Johnson County, Central District Survey & More!
If you're having trouble viewing this email, you can see it online.
FROM METRO MINISTRIES, INC.
June 30, 2021
A Day of Surviving
Imagine you are a single mom who is starting a new job next week after several months of unemployment due to COVID-19. Because you won't get your first paycheck for a few weeks and your unemployment benefits have ended, you need to find assistance with your rent and utilities for next month. You also need to seek more reliable childcare for your toddler. Your car is currently broken down, so you borrow your neighbor's car so you can navigate your community's social services agencies and then visit a food pantry that is providing fresh produce and meat today. You are resourceful and have made phone calls to figure out where you need to go.
You know you are going to Agency 1 for rental assistance, Agency 2 for utility assistance and Agency 3 to sign your child up for Head Start, then heading to the food pantry. You have collected the paperwork the agencies will require and are ready to go. You expect to be home by lunch and look forward to preparing a hot dinner meal from your food pantry goodies. You walk three doors down to your cousin's to drop off your child. But you find she isn't home, even though she had agreed to babysit for you. You call her to find out she is at her boyfriend's house whose dog is sick. So you go back to your house to get the car seat out of your broken down car and secure it in your neighbor's car, buckling in your toddler.
Now you're ready to start your day. Your first stop is the gas station, because your neighbor's car is on empty, and you don't know how far his car will go on E. When you go in to buy $5 worth of gas, your toddler has a melt-down and refuses to leave the store without something to eat. Realizing you had planned for your child to eat breakfast at your cousin's this morning, you feel guilty and get a snack and drink for your child, spending $4 you weren't planning on.
Then you go to Agency 1, seeking assistance with your rent. After filling out their form, you are told that you do not qualify for their services and are directed to Agency 4, who wasn't on your list. You go to Agency 4, complete their very similar application and have your lease in hand and your driver's license, only to realize that your driver's license has a prior address and doesn't match the lease address. So now, you have to go to BMV, Agency 5, before you can apply for assistance with your rent. You do this, pay $9 for an updated driver's license and go back to Agency 4, complete their application and provide a copy of your lease, and they tell you they also need a current utility bill. You have this with you and give to them.
You then go to Agency 2 for assistance with your utility bill, only to realize you gave the original utility bill to Agency 4 and have to go back there, asking them to make a copy for you. Then back to Agency 2, finish their application process, which required all the same information as Agency 1 and Agency 4, but you don't say anything, you provide all the same information again.
It is now past lunch time, but you have spent all the cash you had. So you tell your child and your growling stomach you'll eat when you get home after your food pantry stop. On to Agency 3 to enroll your child in Head Start, where you complete another similar application and then are told you need proof of immunizations.
So you call your doctor's office, now Agency 6, who offers to email you the records. You ask them to send directly to Head Start, but HIPAA policy prevents them from emailing to an unauthorized third party. So you now have your child's immunization records in your phone and you ask to connect to the agency's wi-fi so that you can access the email. You are told Agency 3 does not provide wi-fi access to clients. You check your phone wi-fi settings for any public or unsecured internet connections you can "borrow", but none are showing. The closest hot spot you know of is at the library across town, now Agency 7. You head to the library, get connected to email and send immunization records to Agency 3.
You then head to the food pantry, only to find it's closed. So after connecting with seven instead of the intended three agencies, you go home and are exhausted, defeated and hungry. You are trying to figure out what you can fix to eat, knowing it won't be a nice hot meal.
This may seem a far-fetched illustration, but as someone who has worked in "Agencies" and with "Clients", I can assure you a day like this is all to real and all too typical for many people. Read this week's Metro Grant Recipient Spotlight below for how a Johnson County organization is trying to make a difference for individuals in poverty.
This Week's Grant Recipient Spotlight
Bridges Alliance of Johnson County works with individuals struggling to make ends meet, struggling to move from surviving to thriving. Through their Circles program, people who are motivated to move out of poverty are recruited to be matched with middle and high-income volunteers who can support and encourage them on their journey.
Training and weekly group meetings are held at Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, where participants (Circles Leaders) build relationships with volunteers (Circle Allies). These supportive relationships are intended to be long-term and to be helpful to Circle Leaders climbing out of poverty and achieving financial stability. Their experiences of opportunities and their obstacles are shared with the larger Bridges community, so successes can be celebrated and obstacles can be avoided.
In addition to the Circles Program, Bridges Alliance also focuses on Community Outreach through community awareness and education opportunities, discussing the root causes of poverty and the barriers people often face.
Metro is proud to have awarded a grant to Bridges Alliance of Johnson County this year, supporting community awareness workshops last week, led by Jodi Pfarr. Jodi, who lives in Minneapolis, has direct experience with social service agencies, first as a "client", then later as social services worker, having worked for several different organizations in various capacities. She now works as a consultant to many organizations, including churches, bringing her experiences in poverty as well as her knowledge and skills from working with individuals in poverty.
One of the main areas of focus of last week's workshops was on the four "pillars" of poverty: 1) the individual, both one's choices and one's inherited economic class; 2) institutions, such as schools, governments, criminal justice, community services, businesses, etc.; 3) communities' attitudes, expectations, hidden rules, etc. and 4) policy at local, state and federal levels. As the "Day of Surviving" article above illustrated, an individual's daily life is touched by all four of these pillars. The better understanding we can have of the causes and the complexities of poverty, the better we may be able to individually and collectively work to alleviate poverty in our communities and beyond.
Thank you Bridges Alliance for bringing Jodi Pfarr to Johnson County and for your commitment to your neighbors.
This year's Project Transformation program at Cumberland UMC is in need of volunteers to read one-on-one with children during the remaining four weeks of the program. If you have a few hours available one or more days between now and July 21st, sign up HERE.
Serving in the Central District
The Central District needs clergy and laity to serve in many capacities. If you are feeling led to volunteer, please complete this short form to let the Central District team know.
Lay Servant Academy Training Opportunities
The Lay Servant Academy is offering the Basic Course, to be covered in two successive Sunday afternoons, July 11, 2021 2:30 - 4:30 pm and 6:00 - 8:00 pm AND July 18, 2021, at the same times. Rev. PT Wilson will be the instructor for the course. Click HERE for full details and to register.
Mission u 2021
There's Far More Here
THAN MEETS THE EYE
Mission u will be virtual this year, held Saturdays July 10, 17, 24 and 31, beginning at 10:00 am each day. This year United Methodist Women of Indiana will gather and examine anxiety, the culture of violence that impacts girls in public schools, and how we as God's people can deepen our moral witness and respond faithfully.
Download and print this brochure for details and registration information. The cost is $50. Children uner 18 can register for free and receive a Mission u Activity Kit.
Global Leadership Summit 2021
This year's two-day Global Leadership Summit has two United Methodist host sites in the Central district, Franklin Grace UMC and St. Luke's UMC. Check out the summit speakers and details HERE.
Join hundreds of thousands of curious, growth-minded, and change-driven people like you who want to understand more about leadership in today's world: learn more about the Global Leadership Summit, hosted by Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin on August 5 & 6, and begin to register. Whether you attend in-person at a station like Grace or online, you will experience two days of rich, high-impact, inspiring sessions from folks who will share their wisdom and practical perspective to support you in your leadership program.
If you know of other resources we should share, please let us know by emailing Tina McAninch at email@example.com.
Community Compass is a tool created by Indy Hunger Network and has two key ways to connect individuals with food resources near them. The first is an app for smart phones that automically provides food resources based on where the individual is. The second is the ability to text for food resources if an individual does not have a smart phone. Check out details of Community Compass. This is a very valuable tool but does not currently include all food pantries beyond Marion County.
Listing of Central Indiana Food Pantries
We have updated the format of the food pantry list, making it easier to view when printed. You can download the updated listingHERE or from Metro's website's Resources Hub.Please let us know if you have food resources to add or update. We will make updates to this list on a quarterly basis.
Metro Ministries, Inc. 2560 Villa Avenue Indianapolis, Indiana firstname.lastname@example.org (317) 452-4786 www.indymetroumc.org