Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • JCC Grows (Gardens)!

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the blog.

    When the word community is in your middle name, it’s only natural to start gardens producing healthy, nutritious foods.  The Jewish Community Centers (JCC) Association has taken on the First Lady’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities challenge of growing community gardens. They have started JCC Grows, a healthy food and hunger-relief initiative involving the creation and/or expansion of community gardens at JCCs and JCC camps. Most of the produce grown is donated to emergency food providers to help those in need. JCC Grows also promotes fresh food collection drives and connects JCCs to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and farmers markets.

    JCC Garden 1

    The A-B-C Garden at the Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville, FL helps support an early childhood curriculum.

  • Memphis’ Youth Violence Prevention Efforts put a Focus on the Faith Based Community

    Memphis Youth

    Members of the federal government, Memphis Police and faith-based and community organization join youth participants to focus on Memphis City Wide Youth Violence Prevention Plan in Trezvant High School, Memphis, TN.

    I recently had the privilege of representing the Department of Justice and White House Office of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships as part of a site visit to Memphis, TN along with colleagues from DOJ, DOL, EDU, HHS and HUD, focusing on Memphis’ City Wide Youth Violence Prevention Plan.

    I am particularly impressed with the way in which they have prioritized the faith-based community as a key partner in their youth violence prevention efforts.   Pastor Keith Norman, Memphis’s lead on faith-based community engagement masterfully facilitating a faith-based Leaders Panel and Luncheon.  Congressman Steve Cohen shared about the importance of the Faith Community in Memphis and Reverend Walter Smith, Pastor Michael Ellis discussed the practical service delivery that their churches provide and how their churches function as community and resource centers for the local residents in the target area.  They along with Harold Collins (Special Assistant to the Shelby County District Attorney General), challenged the Faith leaders in the room to find a way to contribute to Memphis’ Youth Violence Prevention Plan.   

  • The White House Attends the COGIC AIM Convention in Houston, TX

    COGIC AIM Convention in Houston, TX

    Faith and community leaders attending the annual COGIC AIM convention listens to the panel offering opportunities to partner with the federal government and local communities. July 7, 2011.

    Each year, the Church of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC) International Auxiliaries in Ministry (AIM) convenes for its national conference.  The annual summer convention brings together nearly 30,000 COGIC members representing nationwide Music & Youth, Missions & Evangelism, and Sunday School ministries for a week of fellowship and training.  The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (WHOFBNP) had the honor of participating on two workshop panels during the annual convening held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX.

  • The White House Partners with Hindu American Seva Charities for Historic Gathering

    Hindu American Seva Charities Essay Contest Participants

    Conference and essay contest participants join together at the Hindu American Seva Charities meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium. July 29, 2011.

    A 3-day conference in Washington, D.C., convened by Hindu American Seva Charities, recently brought together representatives from government agencies, nonprofit organizations and diverse faith leaders from across the country to discuss ways to enact sustainable community development through service.   Several Administration officials as well as the White House Office and Agency Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership Centers participated in various panels at the conference, focusing on partnership development for community service. 

    The conference, entitled, “Energizing Dharmic Seva: Impacting Change in America and Abroad,”  focused on service, or “seva.”  The Hindu term “seva” refers to selfless service that is performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit.   Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) is a nonprofit organization that aims to advance community service while promoting interfaith collaboration, pluralism, social justice, and sustainable civic engagement. 

  • Walking in Health with Parish Nurses

    Across the country, parish nurses are helping congregations walk in health towards a more active lifestyle.  Parish nurses, or Faith Community Nurses, are health experts who work within specific congregations to provide the tools, resources, and support necessary to make healthy decisions and stay active.  In their capacity as health counselors, advocates, educators, and providers of spiritual care, they are on the frontlines of congregational health, working with church members to address healing of the body, mind and spirit.

    Poised to guide parishioners toward more physical activity, parish nurses have responded to the First Lady’s Let’s Move! challenge to walk 3 million miles as part of her initiative to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within a generation. Parish nurses are leading energized, creative community walking programs across the country. The Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, Executive Director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center says, “When a parish nurse is leading a walking program, the average number of miles walked per congregation increases dramatically!” 

  • Let’s Move Faith and Communities Inspires Fresh Produce for 100 Food Pantries

    Since First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent announcement of a private sector commitment to build or expand 1,500 food stores, Americans across the country have been inspired to increase their communities’ access to healthy, affordable food. Ample Harvest has risen to the First Lady’s challenge to faith and community leaders to make fresh produce available for at least 10,000 locations in America through Let’s Move!, her initiative to reverse childhood obesity. Since it began partnering with Let’s Move Faith and Communities, Ample Harvest has brought fresh produce to more than 4,000 food pantries across the country. In July, 100 new food pantries joined the movement.

    Volunteer at The Garden of St. Mark's

    Camille Gaynor, a volunteer at The Garden of St. Mark's, smiles after harvesting a basket of produce to donate to her local food pantry. August 4, 2011.

    Ample Harvest is an innovative, non-profit organization that uses its website to connect gardeners who have excess produce to food pantries in need of fruits and vegetables. Ample Harvest not only helps diminish hunger, but also helps to improve nutrition of families without enough access to fresh produce, one of the First Lady’s primary concerns for America’s children.