Westside Ministries vie for $ 100,000 in nail biting competition
The self-bragging outsider has a real chance of winning $ 100,000 for the Westside Food Literacy program if he gets the votes.
TURLOCK, Calif .– A nonprofit children’s ministry in Turlock throws themselves with heavyweight contenders in a race for a $ 100,000 grant.
“We are the outsider here,” said Jolynn DiGrazia, director of Westside Ministries. “We are the David in the David & Goliath game.”
To be precise, this match is a Kubtoa Tractor Corporation competition. This is a national competition that is part of the company’s Hometown Proud Grant program. The winner of the contest is determined by votes. They have chosen five organizations, and Westside Ministries has a real chance of taking # 1 and winning $ 100,000 for the Westside Food Literacy Program.
“Here we are. We’re nobody. We’re just this little podunk thing, so for our community to come together, embrace the pride and do it (vote) just doesn’t make sense,” said DiGrazia.
The self-touted underdogs of the competition said they applied a day before the application period closed, wondering “why not?” The project they hope to get them to the finish line is the Westside Food Literacy Program.
Sunshine Sakuda, youth and communications coordinator, said the program thrives on permaculture gardening. The children have animals that they raise for the fair and that provide manure and fertilizer for the campus gardens. They grow turnips, watermelons, 20 kinds of flowers, 20 kinds of tomatoes, five kinds of eggplant, and even 40 kinds of peppers.
“It’s their garden. They come, they work, they plant everything, (and) they harvest everything. This was the program we wanted to focus on as we applied for the Kubota grant, ”Sakuda said.
DiGrazia said that this garden is where the magic happens for children. This is where children who have had a difficult upbringing or been underserved in their neighborhood can learn to feed themselves, learn new skills, learn to cook and work with children – all throughout the garden.
And, $ 100,000 can do a lot of magic.
Sakuda said the money would go towards the maintenance and tools they need to maintain their gardens on and off campus. One of those tools is their garden tractor, which doesn’t work, so they rent out what they need. However, these rental tractors are not always in stock and this sometimes makes them wait for weeks which pushes back projects.
$ 100,000 could be spent on their tractor problems, transportation for their pigsty, machinery to transfer manure, expanding the on-site garden and, in general, equipment to have on hand for projects.
“This is something way beyond anything we have asked, tried to ask, so it would be very different for us, but it would also help us and bless us in many other ways,” said Sakuda. .
The Turlock nonprofit temporarily took first place last week, but slipped to second on June 22. However, the vote will not stop until 10 p.m. on June 25.
People can vote more than once, but only once a day. If you would like to support the efforts of Westside Ministries with the grant, you can click on HERE.