As of this spring plans are coming together in Sumter County, where Wendy Peacock, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church and past moderator of CBF/GA, is helping to connect Together for Hope (TFH) with local agencies and initiatives.
TFH was begun in 2001, with the goal of reaching into the 20 poorest counties in the country. Today, TFH has expanded to focus on 301 counties of persistent rural poverty that have been identified by the USDA. (The USDA definition of “persistent poverty” is when 20% of the county has been below the poverty line for 30+ years.) According to Rachel Gunter-Shapard, Regional Vice-President of TFH for our area, rural poverty affects mostly children and senior adults, the most vulnerable segments of the population.
A significant number of the 301 poorest counties are in Georgia, and CBF/GA has begun partnering with TFH for work in some of these counties, especially in Sumter County around Americus. TFH uses the ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) model, which seeks to identify and utilize the strengths already present in a community.
The priorities of TFH are:
- Health and Nutrition
- Housing and Environment
- and Social Enterprise
TFH is currently working to expand their coalition of helping agencies, including working out partnerships with A Better Way Grocers and the Fuller Center for Housing. In Sumter County, partners include One Sumter and Healthy Sumter.
Healthy Sumter is creating a network of community gardens and hopes to establish gardens in all municipalities around Americus.
Churches are invited to consider plugging into the work of CBF/GA through Together for Hope.
Right now, there are opportunities for half-day work groups to work in the gardens.
in Americus and surrounding areas. Soon, there will be opportunities to help work on a house in Plains. Looking beyond Georgia, CBF/GA partners with the work of CBF field personnel Anna and LaCount Anderson in Eastern North Carolina, also through TFH. The Andersons offer a variety of ways that churches and individuals can help with ministries in rural Halifax, Hertford, and Edgecombe Counties.
We will continue to provide updates as this important ministry continues to develop. Contact Jody Long at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on connecting with opportunities for ministry in Sumter County.