How would you use $100 to bless your community? Sushi dinner? Spa night?
Those were just two of the ideas that result from a mini-grant program at Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Hitomi Urushizaki hosted a sushi fundraising dinner for members of the church, using her $100 to buy ingredients. She raised $600 to send people to a conference for equipping Japanese Christians in California.
Meanwhile, Lorraine Otte, Rev. David Kromminga, and Jane Porter used a grant to purchase snacks and supplies to offer a spa night for several single mothers they had been ministering to through the church’s adopt-a-block program.
Otte, a massage therapist, offered free massages, and others from the church offered a foot bath, a make-your-own valentine table, snacks, tea, and socializing. Kromminga provided childcare in the nursery.
The women who attended asked when the next spa night would happen, and the fellowship broke down barriers between neighbors.
Both events were inspired by a mini-grant program funded by Classis Grand Rapids East (a regional group of churches).
Members of the church could apply for a $100 grant to be used only for something that would bless the neighborhood. The mini-grants motivated people to use their own talents and gifts to serve one another and build relationships.
Other grants were used to purchase raised beds for a community garden, clothes for refugee families, gloves and hats for the homeless, and business cards printed with a blessing verse to be left with a tip at local restaurants.
“I don’t need the money to do this; I could do it for free,” Otte said.