The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation granted a total of $253,250 to repair and improve parking lots and other infrastructure for Flint’s three Help Centers.
The Help Centers, located at Bethel United Methodist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church and Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, have operated weekly since 2016, distributing food, water and other needed items to residents.
“Staff and volunteers at all three Help Centers have worked tirelessly to help provide the Flint community with necessary resources during the water crisis and the pandemic,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “We hope these grant dollars will relieve a burden on the churches that stepped up to do this work despite the impact on their facilities.”
Originally, the Help Centers served as part of a broad response to the water crisis, providing regular access to bottled water, water filters, educational materials and lead-mitigating foods.
During the pandemic, the Help Centers’ work continued without interruption and offered a lifeline for residents struggling with food insecurity and other basic needs.
Each site serves an average of 500 individuals per week with drive-through distribution services. Residents’ cars, the large semitrucks used to deliver food and water, and the wear and tear caused by storing and retrieving items have had a significant impact on the parking lots, warehouse and work spaces, and equipment. The grants will provide the churches with funds for parking lot and facility repairs that are needed as a result of Help Center activities. They will be distributed as follows:
- Bethel United Methodist | $78,000
- Asbury Community Development Corporation | $75,250
- United Way of Genesee County to support Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ | $100,000
“Every week we see more than 400 residents needing resources, help and hope. Dozens of volunteers show up to help those they consider neighbors. We are very thankful to the Mott Foundation for this grant to help us alleviate some of the impact on our facilities, including parking lots, which have received large semitrucks of food and bottled water since 2016,” said Harold Woodson, community development coordinator at Bethel.
“Flint’s Help Centers were created to not only give residents resources they needed to help during a crisis, but also to show them that their neighbors and friends care for them,” said Rev. Tommy McDoniel, senior pastor at Asbury. “This grant helps us to do more of that as our community continues to need help with food, water and other necessities. We are thankful to be able to repair our parking lot and facilities so more residents and families can get the help they need.”
“The pandemic was difficult for so many Flint residents. Beyond food and water, we now distribute detergent and other cleaning supplies to help decrease the spread of the virus,” said Mother Jones, executive director of the R.L. Jones Community Outreach Center at Greater Holy Temple. “Our resources are best used to directly impact our community. We are thankful this Mott Foundation grant can help keep our facilities up to date so we can focus on helping more residents.”