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Bay Roberts, NewfoundlandBay Roberts, Newfoundland

For the Baccalieu Trail Community Church in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, support from the Spirit of Mennonite Disaster Service Canada (MDS) Fund means they can now serve seniors and low-income people in the community.

“We have had a vision for some time now to start a kitchen at our church,” said Pastor Gerald Walsh.

The purpose was to assist seniors, single-parents and low-income people who need a place to go to get a hot meal and stay warm, he said.

Before getting the support to create the kitchen, “there wasn’t anywhere in our area that had this type of facility,” he said.

Most of the seniors would go to local fast-food restaurants, which was a hardship for many on fixed incomes.

“In some cases, seniors and others had to make a decision on eating or heating their homes or apartments,” he said.

The Baccalieu Trail Community Church is just one of many congregations that received money from the Spirit of MDS Fund, established by MDS Canada during the pandemic to help Canadian churches respond to Covid-19 needs in their communities.

The success of the Fund caused the MDS Canada board to decide to make it permanent. A total of $200,000 CAD is available each year, with a limit of $5,000 CAD per applicant.

The grants can be used for food banks or other ministries assisting low-income people or seniors, and for construction or renovation projects to repair a home or make it more livable.

MDS Canada is also open to providing assistance in leadership or volunteers to churches that want to do repair or construction projects.

As in the past, funding will focus on Mennonite/Anabaptist churches and organizations, with funding available for other churches and church-related groups on a case-by-case basis.

Priority for funding will be given to applications where volunteers are mobilized to use the grants.

An application form for funding for the 2022-23 Spirit of MDS Fund is available here.

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