Out of the strong conviction that our resources should be used not merely to benefit ourselves but also to benefit others, the session of DPC decided to dedicate a portion of all un-designated gifts given to the Forward Together! Capital Campaign to mission work. Below is a list of projects that we have committed to sponsor.
In 1999, Hunting Park Christian Academy opened its doors in Philadelphia with the mission of providing “an affordable, quality, Christian education that celebrates a diverse community and leads children to know and serve the Lord.” Starting with 70 students, it now has a student body of 200 students for grades Pre-Kindergarten through grade 8. In the community HPCA serves, there is a 53% high school dropout rate with 45% of the families living at or below the federal poverty level. Tuition is $2,000 per year and it is not unusual for children who attend one year to become unable to continue due to family finances. Because of this, we will be covering the tuition cost for four children for ten years each at HPCA, thus preparing them for success in high school and beyond.
DPC has a long history with the Community Pantry. Mission trips the last three years have given church members the opportunity to work in the pantry and see first-hand their ministry of providing food to more than 2,300 households each month. Additional gifts from our church provided the resources necessary for a cistern in 2011 and ongoing support of its backpack food program since 2006, which ensures that school-age children will have food over each weekend. The Hope Garden is an ongoing aspect of the Community Pantry’s ministry which supplements the food given to families in need by providing fresh produce while also educating the public about health sustenance and enhancement. Through a partnership with the local soil and water conservation agency, the Community Pantry has built four hoop houses (heavy-duty greenhouses) in which produce is grown. Our contribution allowed for the Hope Garden plan to be completed through the construction of two additional hoop houses for vegetables and a berm to provide wind protection from winds that at times can reach 50 mph. It also included the purchase of fruit-producing trees, shrubs, and grasses, fill dirt and topsoil for areas inside the berm and hoop houses, irrigation equipment, Bobcat time, and project management for nine months to make the effort a reality.
To see pictures of the Hope Garden, see the photo album on DPC's Facebook page from our 2012 trip to the Community Pantry.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 children die each day in the world, mostly under the age of 5, from diseases caused by unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation facilities. One group with a strong track record of responding to that need is World Vision, a “Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tacking the causes of poverty and injustice.” Its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program seeks to reduce the estimated 884 million people world- wide who lack access to safe water and the 2.5 billion without basic sanitation. The Kenya WASH program seeks to bring improved water supplies to 325,000 people in 11 locations. As part of the Forward Together campaign, DPC will partner with a community in Kenya to offer the financial resources necessary to drill a borehole well and provide a water pump and pump house for a community water system.
The Way Home began as a group of concerned citizens, mostly from churches in the lower Bucks County area who responded to a need presented by an encampment of homeless men and women on a vacant lot. A committee of church leaders appealed to local officials for time to develop a plan for housing. The Code Blue initiative we are supporting at DPC is one way of helping the homeless, but the Lower Bucks Emergency Housing Group, now called The Way Home, seeks a more enduring solution. One of its plans is to purchase a house in which 6-8 individuals would live for a time as they transition toward more permanent housing, which DPC will support through mission funds from the Forward Together campaign. Persons living in the house would agree to clearly defined rules of behavior while receiving case management support that addresses issues of mental health and substance abuse, life and job skills, and assistance in securing employment.
To further strengthen the fund established with our first capital campaign, we will add whatever mission dollars come in beyond the amounts required for the above projects to the endowment established for mission needs that are ongoing or surface in the future.