Walmart grants benefit UM ministries and partners

Those attending the Dec. 9 presentation of Walmart State Giving Grants included, from left, Michelle Shope, Elvia Perez, Kathy Ransom and Veeta Biggers with Shepherd’s Hope Neighborhood Health Center, a ministry of Oak Forest UMC; Andi Ridgway, chair of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention and a partner with the 200,000 Reasons initiative; Michael Lindsey, director of public affairs and government relations at Walmart; Dr. Roderick Smothers, president of Philander Smith College; the Rev. J.J. Whitney and Bishop Gary Mueller, representing 200,000 Reasons; and Kathy Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, a 200,000 Reasons partner. AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

Those attending the Dec. 9 presentation of Walmart State Giving Grants included, from left, Michelle Shope, Elvia Perez, Kathy Ransom and Veeta Biggers with Shepherd’s Hope Neighborhood Health Center, a ministry of Oak Forest UMC; Andi Ridgway, chair of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention and a partner with the 200,000 Reasons initiative; Michael Lindsey, director of public affairs and government relations at Walmart; Dr. Roderick Smothers, president of Philander Smith College; the Rev. J.J. Whitney and Bishop Gary Mueller, representing 200,000 Reasons; and Kathy Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, a 200,000 Reasons partner.
AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

The Walmart Foundation on Dec. 9 presented State Giving Grants to eight Arkansas nonprofits—half of which had connections to United Methodism. Each organization received grant funding of at least $25,000, including:

  • 200,000 Reasons, the Arkansas Conference initiative to fight childhood hunger. The funds will provide the resources for 10 United Methodist churches to provide Cooking Matters classes to a total of 360 families in 2016. A part of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, the Cooking Matters program helps families learn to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget.
  • Shepherd’s Hope Medical Clinic, a ministry of Oak Forest UMC Little Rock, provides medical, dental and vision care to neighborhood residents who would not otherwise have access to these services. The clinic will use its grant toward the purchase of an ultrasound machine and other needed supplies.
  • Philander Smith College, a United Methodist-related historically black institution, will use its grant to purchase computer equipment for a workforce training program.
  • The Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP), a partner of the 200,000 Reasons Task Force, will use its grant to increase access to fruits and vegetables for low income Arkansans. Its sub-grants will allow farmers markets to double spending power of SNAP (food stamp) recipients who purchase locally-grown produce in 14 pilot counties.

Other grant recipients were Arkansas Dream Center, for its mobile summer feeding program; ArVets, for programs that help veterans transition into the civilian world, including workforce development; Baptist Health, for its BHealthy Initiative Farmers Market Program, which makes nutrition education and local produce available through farmers markets at hospital sites; and Blessings in a Backpack, for its summer and weekend feeding program.