Who benefits from our work? The entire community!
Project URGE has been a community builder and catalyst for involvement since the beginning of 2002! In brief, what have we accomplished?
Project URGE has faithfully hosted several general meetings each year since 2002 in order to reach out to churches, organizations and individuals who wanted to get involved in urban ministry and/or strengthen the work that they were already doing. These forums have been key for discussion of the issues involved in ministering to those living in poverty and for laying the foundation for effective collaboration among the many different people and organizations doing this type of work.
Most years, since 2002, Project URGE has hosted a fall event, the URGEnt Presentation & Workshops, to highlight urban ministries that are currently working to make a difference within areas of poverty, as well as to learn about ways to empower under-resourced neighborhoods in order to:
- increase participants’ awareness of the number of different programs already functioning in the Rochester area
- recruit people who can get involved through volunteering, providing financial support, and/or prayer
- train and inspire community development with practical and achievable steps
- encourage congregations to work across racial and denominational lines
The URGEncy Coat & Food Collection has been a consistent part of the annual Presentation & Tour. Area churches have been asked for donations of both winter coats and dry goods and then these items were redistributed to Rochester ministries serving the poor.
The Bread Run is a group of Project URGE volunteers who have delivered baked goods to homeless shelters and soup kitchens every weekend since 2004, thereby supporting and enhancing those services.
Jacob’s Ladder is a group of Project URGE volunteers who have provided “handy-man” services to Project URGE affiliated churches/organizations in order to maintain or renovate facilities. Their labor of love over the years has saved affiliates thousands of dollars of expense, allowing ministries to spend more of their financial resources on serving those in need and less on the facility itself.
Over the years Project URGE has provided volunteer coordination for hundreds of students and others from church groups and schools to serve within partnering urban ministries. Our organization has also facilitated the partnering of urban and suburban churches in providing urban youth summer camps.
Project URGE has created opportunities for teens from different social, ethnic and economic backgrounds to spend time together doing service projects, doing Bible studies, and participating in social, fun activities. Connecting people and building relationships across denominational, racial and class lines has been and continues to be an important goal for our organization.
Project URGE’s close alignment with the principles of the Christian Community Development Association [CCDA] has meant that we have sent people to CCDA conferences for training and have also invited speakers from CCDA to come and share valuable insight with people in our area. Over the years CCDA speakers and urban practitioners have included: Dr. John Perkins, Dr. Wayne Gordon, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Leroy Barber, Noel Castellanos (CEO of CCDA), Pastor Jonathan Brooks. CCDA has been and continues to be a source of great wisdom and encouragement for us. Please visit their website at www.ccda.org/
Project URGE has distributed hard copy newsletters as well as electronic ‘E-briefs’ to our contact list in an effort to help keep people informed about the many local events that were happening and specific needs among churches or ministries.
The Mothers in Need of Others ministry [MINO] has been effective in collecting and redistributing household and children’s items to primarily young, single mothers who needed a helping hand. A recent bowling fundraiser for MINO raised over $800 for beds for families who had been sleeping on floors.
Furnished 4 Life Ministries is partnering with The Pillar Church to open a thrift store to serve the under-resourced and will be poised to grow into a training facility for those needing basic job skills. This effort could go hand in hand with our Free to Fly Ministry team.
Project URGE successfully brought together several churches, ministries and residents in the Beechwood Neighborhood to offer the Beechwood Christmas Store to bring dignity to gift giving and purchasing in an under-resourced neighborhood. This was a new idea for Rochester, but Project URGE borrowed the idea from FCS Ministries in Atlanta, and consulted with them to get this initiative started. Our mission is now to grow this idea in several parts of the city of Rochester in the "poverty crescent".
This effort was a win/win/win. 1) People that were under huge financial constraints were able to select and purchase their own gifts for their family, bringing dignity to the process, 2) Churches and organizations as well as residents came together to build stronger relationships and accomplish an important outreach event to the Beechwood neighborhood and 3) any dollars collected offset the costs and the remaining funds went to the organizations involved that build into the neighborhood.
We have been committed to connecting and uniting people from many different churches and organizations to work together to break down the barriers of poverty, racial divide, and despair in the name of Jesus Christ.