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Featured Mini-Grantee | Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church – Mt. Pisgah CARES

2024-07-03T20:26:35-04:00July 3rd, 2024|

Educate, Empower, and Elevate!

Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in 1931, has a long history of community ministry, and Mt. Pisgah CARES (Compassion, Advocacy, Respect, Empowerment, and Service) was created in 2019 to expand church outreach in the Greenville section of Jersey City.

Mt. Pisgah CARES focuses on empowering individuals through job training, entrepreneurship, economic education, home ownership, and public safety mobilization. Outreach activities address food insecurity, promote healthy lifestyles, and help integrate returning citizens back into the community.  

An inspirational tagline for the organization is Educate, Empower, and Elevate

HealthierJC + Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church

Mount Pisgah believes that Building a Culture of Health means informing congregants and others in the community about nutritious diets, which can lead to healthy lifestyles and a deeper respect for all life.

According to recent demographic analysis, concentrated poverty has been on the rise in Jersey City in the last two decades despite accelerated urban redevelopment. Now, more than ever, Mt. Pisgah CARES understands the need to inspire, educate and help people live longer and healthier lives.  This aligns with the HealthierJC mission to empower residents with the knowledge needed to achieve health equity in all Jersey City zip codes.  

How was the Mini-Grant Used?

The primary Mt. Pisgah CARES activity funded by the HealthierJC mini-grant was the 2023 Health and Resource Fair.  The fair brought together the community and collaborators like Rutgers, Jersey City Medical Center, the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs, and HealthierJC to disseminate health information to over 500 people and conduct onsite health screenings.

Mt. Pisgah CARES also provided health talks and brochures on good nutrition during food pantry and soup kitchen outreach.  This grass roots  education on healthy eating reached several hundred individuals and families monthly, and was supplemented by the distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Mt. Pisgah AME Church then committed to modelling the behavior it encouraged in others. Traditionally, meals associated with African American churches have not been considered healthy.  The church intentionally decreased the amount of fried and greasy foods offered, while increasing its choices of greens and vegetables for every church event meal.  It has also significantly cut back on desserts and sugary sweets.

In addition to the steps taken to improve community health and nutrition, Mt. Pisgah CARES hosted a Back-to-School Giveaway & Resource Fair and a Family & Friends Day.  Across all these activities, some 850 minorities, women, veterans, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-Income residents in Ward F.  The HealthierJC funding helped to expand the outreach footprint of Mt. Pisgah CARES, and established the church as a valued resource and information hub for members of the congregation and its border community.

Making a Difference…

“Mount Pisgah shares with many African American churches a rich tradition of
delicious foods, so it took a great act of faith for Mount Pisgah to introduce a healthier
diet to its congregation and the surrounding community.”
— Maryanne Kelleher, Director, Partnership for a HealthierJC.

Kelleher said that a core value of HealthierJC’s work is to provide the community at large with the resources and tools that enhance healthier eating. “Children can’t learn and adults can’t work, without the energy that is the reward for a nutritious diet.”

Many economically challenged residents live in food deserts. The Mount Pisgah community is working to ensure that no one goes hungry or experiences the debilitating effects of a poor diet.

Kelleher also acknowledged the church for its Health & Resource Fair, which offered tests to screen for chronic conditions that affect the community.

For more information, visit Mt. Pisgah CARES.