Matthew 25 held their annual Celebration Event on April 5, 2016, in commemoration of a successful year supporting their neighbors and to honor a volunteer, church and corporate partner of the year. This year Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was named Matthew 25 Church of the Year.
"It is truly the volunteers that push forward Matthew 25's mission to empower people to transform," announced Eden Youngberg, Matthew 25's Development and Communications Coordinator.
"Our volunteers logged over 8,000 hours this past year," she continued, "with 7,000 pounds produce harvested on the urban farm, there were many fruits and vegetables to be washed, a farm to be maintained, and a market stand to be run."
The Mount Vernon United Methodist Church send volunteers to wash produce every year. They also took on one of Matthew 25's most challenging home rehab projects this year where they worked tirelessly with the homeowner from start to finish.
"The volunteers loved and nurtured the entire family," Youngberg said. "On the day of the moving in, they prayed, ate together and celebrated the long journey of recovery."
Along with their consistent volunteerism, they annually invite Matthew 25 to be a part of their Alternative Christmas Market.
Mount Vernon UMC has been a consistent financial supporter too.
Kay Graber, chair of Peace and Justice for Mount Vernon UMC accepted the award for Church of the Year.
"We could not do what we do without your partnership and support," concluded Youngberg. "Thank you for being a blessing for your generous and faithful commitment to serving your neighbors through Matthew 25."
At the celebration, the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was award Church of the Year for:
- Consistently volunteering their time and talents
- Faithful financial support
The 2016 Volunteer of the Year recipients were Robert Buntz, and Bradd and Janan Brown for:
- Chairing the Grow Possibilities Capital Campaign to success
- Generously offering their time, talents and support on a regular basis
The Corporate Partner of the Year recipient was Frontier Co-op for:
- Sponsorship of the five school gardens
- Generous support of the urban farm
Matthew 25 is an independent, local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which helps strengthen and elevate neighborhoods on the west side of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When those neighbors needed help recovering from the 2008 flood, Matthew 25 partnered with other organizations to invest more than $6 million to empower people to rebuild 25 blocks and renew their neighborhoods – Block by Block.
The Block by Block program has been recognized statewide and nationally as a model for disaster recovery and neighborhood revitalization. More than 250 families were able to move back into their homes because of the work of Matthew 25. Using their neighborhood organizational and community development skills, it has grown today into a stable, committed organization that is a leader in finding a neighborhood’s potential and building on it. Through volunteers, partners and contributors, their innovative programs help people strengthen their communities.
Matthew 25 envisions a thriving, connected community where people are valued and talents are multiplied; where neighborhood families have access to safe, affordable housing and healthy food; and where youth are empowered through reading and the creative arts.