In this issue of Global Health, learn how the Abundant Health program is supporting healthy meals in Kingston, New York; how maternal and child services are improving in Nigeria; learn about a Global Health partnership with the National Association for Children of Alcoholics to offer the Celebrating Families! training; and get involved in the 10,000 Church Challenge.
Abundant health supports healthy meals in Kingston, New York
Caring Hands Soup Kitchen and Pantry is located in the city of Kingston, N.Y., the most economically challenged and underserved district of Ulster County. Kingston is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-designated “food desert,” which means that a significant share of the city’s residents have little access to a supermarket or large grocery store in their neighborhood.
Many Kingston families suffer from the effects of generational poverty — that is, a situation of poverty that carries over from one generation to the next. Nearly half — 45.6 percent — of Kingston families live below the poverty level, including 7,528 households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In the 2013/2014 school year, 54 percent of the district’s enrolled students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 18.2 percent of children had classified disabilities.
Other families in the community come to rely on the food pantry due to job loss, eviction, or illness. Community services in Kingston are limited, and breakfast programs and educational programs are rare.
The Clinton Avenue Methodist Church began Caring Hands Soup Kitchen and Pantry in 1990 to feed the hungry in the community. It manages several food banks, a farm-to table food distribution program, and community gardens. The soup kitchen’s prepared meals are often residents’ primary source of hot, nutritious food.
Caring Hands received a grant from Global Health in February 2016 to scale up its program. The funding has enabled Caring Hands to expand its delivery program and begin to offer healthy cooking classes. It has allowed Caring Hands to provide breakfast to 1,440 homeless and low-income adults and 5,940 children — exceeding its yearly goal of 4,800 breakfasts after just six months. And families in this community now also have access to a three-session healthy cooking course.
Improving Maternal and Child Health Services in North Eastern Nigeria
The United Methodists Church’s Gwandum and Worom clinics, in rural northeast Nigeria, have been working in maternal and child health care for many years. Professional health staff offer essential prenatal care, skilled delivery, and postnatal and Well Baby Clinic services. They receive important support from a network of community workers, who identify pregnant women in their villages, encourage them to use the clinics’ services, and follow up with them. Now the clinics’ work will be boosted by a grant from Global Health’s Abundant Health initiative.
One of the patients shared her experience: “This is my sixth baby. It is also the first time I have made more than two clinic visits in a pregnancy. That’s because, during a health talk, I learned about the importance of routine antenatal medicines (like iron), regular antenatal visits, and getting vaccines. I also got to know about the different methods of family planning, and I am so glad because I want to stop having babies. My husband is finding it difficult to support me with my children, and the children of his other wives. Most of the time I have to provide for my children, which is difficult when my small trading is not doing well. I didn’t know where to get the information, but the health center staff have been helpful. My husband and his other wives have also gone for HIV testing, which, fortunately for us all, was negative. My family has benefited a lot from this program, and I pray that other people will benefit too.”
Thanks to the Abundant Health grant, many more women can now receive these services.
Recovery Support and Substance Abuse Prevention Program is part of Abundant Health
It's impossible to underestimate the suffering children go through when one of their parents is fighting an addiction. In line with recent evidence from “Adverse Childhood Experiences” studies, Global Health is providing grants to promote trauma-informed and resilience-building practices to mediate these negative effects in children.
Our United Methodist churches are helping children heal with evidence-based ministries. Global Health has partnered with the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) to offer the Celebrating Families! (CF!) training to any church or community that wants to implement this ministry for families in recovery. CF! supports long-term healing for families — especially children — through weekly guided family activities and age-specific small groups that cover anger, conflict, communication, parenting (for the adult groups), boundaries, and family rituals, while also providing information about the disease of addiction, and more.
This partnership has enabled 20 CF! facilitators to be trained in Tempe, Ariz., who then provided CF! to 22 family members, through the City of Tempe’s Human Services Department. Eleven total participants from four different families completed the series and celebrated a CF! graduation at the end of September.
During a weekly self-assessment, one parent commented, “[I learned] healthy and unhealthy boundaries and how I will help my son with these.” Another explained that one of the classes helped them reflect on “being more thoughtful with my words.”
CF! group facilitators have special insight into the changes that each session brings about in the children who participate. One facilitator explained that during session five, only one participant in the early childhood group appeared comfortable expressing his emotions.” By week eight, all of the children “had a lot to share about the theme [Chemical Dependency is a Disease]. It made them reflect on the problems their parents have, and they expressed that they did not like to talk to their parents when they were drinking.”
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in ministering to your community’s children through Celebrating Families!
10,000 Church Challenge
When your church signs up for the 10,000 Church Challenge, you are demonstrating your commitment to health by building programs that promote physical activity and healthy eating, and address issues of substance abuse and mental health. Watch this promotional video to learn more, and sign up now!
United Methodist Gifts of Hope
You can make a Gift of Hope that will change lives where the need is greatest.
Your gift to Global Health, Advance #3021770, will be put to work, supporting those who act as the hands and feet of Christ in a hurting world. The UMC Abundant Health programs are saving lives in the world’s most vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world. Our programs empower people to take charge of their own lives and to be key stakeholders in the solutions that keep their communities healthy and safe. These lifesaving solutions are sustained over time because there is an emphasis on education and the development of local resources.
Read more about Global Health.
Learn about the 10,000 Church Challenge and sign-up.
Learn about the UMC's new signature health initiative, featured in the March-April 2016 issue of New World Outlook magazine.
Visit the Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children web page.
Support this lifesaving work with your gifts to Global Health, Advance #3021770.
Image 1: Kingston community members participate in one of three sessions of a Caring Hands healthy cooking class. Photo: Caring Hands Soup Kitchen and Pantry
Image 2: A villager receives antenatal care at the United Methodist clinic in Gwandum, Nigeria. Photo: Joyce Madango
Image 3: A May training of facilitators for Celebrating Families! in Dubuque, Iowa. Photo courtesy of NACOA.