Episcopal Church Plants $600 to Grow Seedlings Program
Bennington After-school Program Makes Progress with Support from Diocesan Grant and GoFundMe Campaign
By Maurice L. Harris | Diocesan Communications Minister
BENNINGTON, VERMONT— According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold. The rate for Vermont is 13%. For the past three years, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has been addressing issues related to childhood poverty by supporting Bennington’s Seedlings Program, and the program, which is in some respects a seedling itself, is gearing up for growth with help from a $600 grant from the church.
Bennington’s Seedlings Program is gearing up for growth with help from a $600 grant from the church.
The after-school program, which serves students in grades one through six, will be putting the funds toward classroom materials, snacks, field trips, volunteer training, and social gatherings. This is just one phase of what Seedlings hopes will become a growing trend of support. The program already benefits from a ready supply of volunteers and has just hired its first and only paid staffer.
Mary McGuinness, St. Peter’s vestry member and Seedlings volunteer, said, “We would like to thank the Episcopal Church in Vermont—the Diocese—for equipping St. Peter’s to contribute to the Seedlings Program and would like to encourage community members who are looking to make a difference in children’s lives to contribute as well.
“Because of volunteers from the Bennington community, Seedlings students have spent a collective 1,413 hours in programming for the 2016-17 year. The Program is expanding to 22 students this year and the goal for the fall is to add 15 more volunteers and to raise $25,000.”
“The Program is expanding to 22 students this year and the goal for the fall is to add 15 more volunteers and to raise $25,000.”
Seedlings has established a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/seedlingsprogram to accept contributions. Additional information on Seedlings can be found at https://seedlingsprogram.com.
The grant to St. Peter’s, earmarked for Seedlings, was one of several recently announced by the Episcopal Church in Vermont’s Grants and Loans Committee. It is part of a cumulative total of more than $36,600 in grants made since the beginning of this year to fund education initiatives, environmental stewardship programs, and local mission efforts in Episcopal congregations across the state of Vermont.
Featured photo courtesy of Seedlings Program. View the gallery at https://seedlingsprogram.com/gallery/.