Submitted by Otto Zingg:
First Presbyterian Church of Waverly is announcing that its first Matthew 25 Grant of $1,000 has been given to the Waverly School District’s Community Outreach and Parent Engagement (COPE) program.
The purpose of the annual grant is to give support to Pike County projects that will have a sustaining impact on children and youth, addressing both immediate needs as well as systemic issues. The grant monies are drawn from an endowment given in 2003 by ling time Waverly resident and church member, Wade McCluggge, in memory of his wife Sybil, to be used for music and educational ministries work as well as work with area young people.
This is COPE’s second year of operation in the Waverly City Schools. Three staff people run this outreach program which helps students from economically distressed families. Their goal is to meet the needs of the kids, not just in their school life, but in their home life also. Therefore, COPE works with the whole family, giving them encouragement, self-respect, and hope. A staff member stated that the overall goal of the program is to interrupt the cycle of poverty that limits future possibilities for a number of students in the Waverly schools.
The church’s grant program evolved from an exploration by the church’s Mission and Evangelism Committee on what it means to become a Matthew 25 congregation. As the parable of Jesus in that chapter indicates, people of faith are called to respond to the needs of the “least of these” as though responding to God. The Committee came to the realization that a portion of the church’s resources should be so directed and thereby created the Matthew 25 grant for community programs with children and youth.
As a result of this discernment process and the applications themselves, other funds have been given as seed money in support of a Western Middle School project with young girls, titled “Body Image, Mental Outlook, and Self Esteem”; and of a proposal by the Garnet A. WIlson Public Library that seeks to put arts and crafts materials into the hands and homes of young people.
The Presbyterian congregation also contributed to the county’s 4-H program in 2020 and continues in its ongoing support of the Pike County Outreach Council in its sponsorship of the food pantry and homeless shelter (Bridgehaven).