written by Kelly Reep, contributing writer
Kinship Care, a ministry of Fairview United Methodist Church in Camden, recently received a $2,000 grant from 200K More Reasons. These funds will supply healthy snacks, which will distribute to grandparents who help with Kinship Care children in their home to use as afterschool snacks. The healthy snacks will support a healthy atmosphere in the home of aging adults who are caring for a family of children in need.
“These snacks will be distributed each week,” said Rev. Terrie Bunnell, senior pastor of Fairview United Methodist Church. “Kinship Care is a part of our existing food pantry ministry.”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, kinship care refers to the care of children by relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends (often referred to as fictive kin). Relatives are the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it helps maintain the children’s connections with their families, increases stability, and overall minimizes the trauma of family separation. It is imperative that kinship caregivers have the supports they need when a child is placed in their care.
More than 32 percent of Camden’s residents are living in poverty. Of the 10,877 people living in Camden, 2,055 are senior citizens. Kinship Care is a way to support grandparents who are providing and caring for their families.
“We feel that this ministry will be valuable in supporting and acknowledging the needs of grandparents taking care of family members in their home,” Rev. Bunnell said. “Many of our seniors are living on limited income from social security and disability, and the impact of this ministry on those receiving help would build relationships of awareness and concern for their stability. At Fairview UMC, we hope to show compassion for those who may not realize help is available as well as the children they are raising.”
This feeding ministry focuses on healthy afterschool snacks for children, which benefits both the children by consuming nutritious food and the grandparents by providing them something healthy to help their grand or great-grandchildren grow well.
“Our goal with Kinship Care is to serve at least 10 homes each week,” Rev. Bunnell said. “We want to create a box of snacks for one child, which would equal $5 each week per child. The snack box will include a total of five items incorporating fresh fruit and healthy snack bars.”
Fairview United Methodist Church has a food pantry, which serves about 300 families per month, and it is supported by church and community members through donations. Because of some changes within the church, Fairview United Methodist Church has seen more than 40 families leave, and the monetary responsibility of supporting both Kinship Care and the food pantry has fewer supporters. The grant from 200K More Reasons will ease this concern for the next year.