In 2004, Pastor Mary Harris attended a UCC event and learned of a mission project called Foods Resource Bank (now called Growing Hope Globally) and she knew in her heart was a perfect fit for St. Johns. She was right and many years later the project is still going.
Growing Hope Globally (GHG) is an ecumenical nationwide non‐profit organization that has a unique way to help the poorest of the poor in rural areas become self-sustaining. Typically, a rural church provides the land, equipment and knowledge to grow a crop and the partnering church helps offset some of the cost. The crop is harvested and the money sent to GHG membership organizations such as UCC Wider Church Ministries, Disciples of Christ Week of Compassion, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran World Relief, etc. that works with the overseas programs. The recipients receive funds to carry out sustainable agricultural practices such as better or different types of seeds, improved water situations, storage issues, new farming techniques, livestock etc.
The GHG committee is made up of Laura Grathwohl, Tim Kueckelhan, Kenneth Stegner and Eddie Wassmann. Laura is the treasurer and organizer of the projects. In 2010, Laura submitted a video of our growing project to the GHG Video Contest. Her video won first place! Along with that award, Laura received a grant that allowed her to travel to Washington, DC to meet with other GHG members and decision makers at our Nation’s Capital.
St. Johns has had several churches partner with our efforts including, Columbia UCC, Country Club Christion and Bethel UCC both of Kansas City, and St. Andrew’s of Kansas. Through this partnership we have had Blessing of the Seeds and Harvest Celebration events that have created friendships and community. Don Scott, Bill Geiger, Linda Burnett, Jim Vieth, and Rhea Helmerich have rented or donated land to our project which more than triples the money we can raise on our years with “landless
projects”. We appreciate their giving spirits.
Our Billingsville farmers are some of the best. Their hands and equipment do the work of their hearts. The Tim Kueckelhan family, Ed Wassman family, and Kenny Stegner have been involved from the beginning and continue to donate their time, equipment, and fuel to plant and harvest. They have been instrumental in getting others from and not from St. Johns involved in Foods Resource Bank. Even though our farmers' situations are very different, they can identify like none other with the challenges of drought, floods, pests sometimes all in one growing season.
Since the planting of the seeds in 2004, St. Johns with all of its helpers have raised a total of $98,100.00 for places like Armenia, CAR Gamboula, Haiti, Bolivia, Bosnia and Nicaragua. Thank you to everyone that has been and will continue to be involved in GHG. The more we learn about the people facing these severe problems and ways to help, the more dedicated we become to becoming part of the solution of world hunger.
Growing Hope Globally
Formerly known as Foods Resource Bank
Some of our volunteer farmers
Visitors from our partner church.
A beautiful end to the day of work.