INDIANAPOLIS — Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Lilly Endowment has provided nearly $210 million dollars in grant money to support needs in Indiana and across the country.
More than $17 million of the money is helping organizations and churches in Marion County that assist families in need.
“It seems like every year I've been having my own pandemic,” Precious Williams said.
Williams is a member of New Direction Church, which has locations on the north and east sides of Indianapolis.
“In 2018, a lot of people actually don’t know I was homeless,” Williams said.
The mother of two did not want to ask for help but was encouraged to reach out to the church to see what resources were available.
Since then, leaders with New Direction Church helped pay for her rent, utilities and have provided her food through their monthly food pantry.
“It really gave me a relief. I don't have to be scared, I can ask for help and not get looked at like bad or anything,” Williams said.
New Direction Church has been helping families with their own money for many years. During the pandemic, it increased efforts due to the demand, even temporarily moving its food pantry to a weekly event.
In January, it received $75,000 from a Lilly Endowment Grant that will allow them to expand their efforts.
The church is one of eight African American churches or grassroots organizations that received grant money last month. It was chosen based on its outreach efforts during the pandemic to help meet basic needs in high-poverty neighborhoods.
“We want to beef up our efforts with our food pantry,” Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. said. “We want to continue to bless families who are facing, some of them eviction, we've done that already. We want to also be able to be a blessing to families in terms of some of their utilities and things of that nature that they are dealing with.”
New Direction Church puts a big focus on community outreach efforts. It wants families in the community to know they are a resource that is available.
Families can reach out to New Direction Church by clicking the contact us link on their website.