After a difficult spring planting and harvest season due to unfavorable weather conditions, the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church is offering grants to local farmers to ease some financial hardships.
In August, when the crops showed visible signs of stress, NIC Bishop Sally Dyck toured several farms in the Rockford and DeKalb areas. She and other NIC leaders heard stories from the farmers of anxiety, uncertainty and even depression. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, farmers have some of the highest suicide rates of any professional group and they continue to rise each year.
Dyck wanted to raise awareness of this growing rural health concern and bring hope and care to the community’s family famers with a special offering that was collected at a November meeting of clergy and church members.
Thanks to the offering, the NIC’s Town and Rural Committee, which supports and equips small town and rural churches for vital ministry, is awarding the one-time grants up to $500 to Farm Service Agency-recognized farmers in northern Illinois for necessities such as groceries, utility bills or equipment payments, no questions asked.
An NIC pastor will fill out the online application on behalf of the farmer, but the farmer does not have to be affiliated with a United Methodist congregation. The grants will be awarded based on funds available. If you know a farmer who could benefit from a micro-grant, visit www.umcnic.org/bishopsappeal for a referral form.
For information, contact the Rev. Mary Bohall, chair of the NIC Town and Rural Committee and pastor at First United Methodist Church in Mendota, at email@example.com or 815-538-5587.
Source: The Daily Chronicle