Agape Ministry needs your help. We have just mailed out the letter for our annual campaign. We desperately need this campaign to do well. Our goal is $30,000, which is the same it has been for 3 years. Unfortunately, we have lost $175,000 in grant funding over the last 3 years.
Agape has two food pantries: one in Warrenton and one in Wright City. We feed about 1,200 people every month out of the food pantries. In addition we help many more with one-time, emergency payments of rent or utilities as needed to avoid homelessness.
Last year at this time we had spend $22,000 helping people avoid homelessness. This year we haven't even spent $6,500. I wish I could say this was due to reduced demand, but in fact the demand is higher than ever. What's been reduced is funding. If your church distributes benevolent funds you have probably noticed an increase in requests and an increase in the number of people saying that Agape could not help.
In previous years we had the proceeds from the sale of 70 percent Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits and a grant from the Missouri Housing Trust Fund. This year we were rejected in our application to both of those sources. We then applied for a grant to the Missouri Foundation for Health, but they also rejected us. The State rejected us because they have their own money troubles. The MFH rejected us because they say our focus is not health related. The three combined equal $175,000. All of this would have been used to prevent homelessness in Warren County.
If you have been to our thrift store lately you know we have been blessed with success there. Those proceeds keep our doors open and buy food for our pantries. Donations from your churches also go to buy food. What we're missing – what we need to raise – is money to prevent homelessness. Right now the electric companies cannot disconnect people for unpaid bills because the Cold Weather Rule is in effect. But as it warms up that rule will expire, and I am very concerned about what people will do if we have no funds to assist.
I keep hearing that the economy is improving, but I think that is mainly happening on Wall Street. Here on Main Street it's still awfully difficult to find a job, and we still have many, many Warren County residents looking to us for help. I am afraid that a lot of our families will be sitting in the cold and dark come April.
I have attached the letter that went out to households, and the press release that was sent to the newspapers. However, nothing – NOTHING – beats an appeal from the pulpit. Every time I turn to area pastors for help, we see a dramatic increase in donations. PLEASE urge your church members to give to Agape. Even small donations count.
If someone did not get a letter they can still give by sending a check to Agape Ministry, 713 Powell, Warrenton, MO 63383, or by calling in a credit card number to 636-456-4645.
God bless you for your help. If you have any questions, please call me at 456-4645. I am out of the office until April 4, but while I am gone you can ask for Geri.
Agape Ministry of Warren County, Inc.