Seeds of Vision eNewsletter - Summer 2020
As communities of faith engaged in the hard work of lifting up the least among us, there is so much that we can learn from one another. It is our humble hope that Seeds of Vision will help make that possible by providing a platform for ecumenical social service agencies from across the East North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) to share their knowledge and experience.
Our faith calls upon us to serve the poor and afflicted in our midst.  That is truer than ever during this time, as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches our resources and brings more people flocking to our doors.  
Still, while some of the articles here touch on the pandemic, and one or two address it head-on, Seeds of Vision is by-and-large about helping us to reflect on the larger work that we do, and to contemplate what might come next. May this short collection of articles inspire new ventures to help those in our community who are crying out for help.
Ecumenical-Social-Services Agency Profile
Operation Love
Operation Love started as the work of one woman giving things to those in need out of her garage. Now it’s an alliance of 29 churches, providing food, clothing, emergency assistance, and financial coaching to the people of Madison County, Indiana.  Operation Love serves as the Innkeeper, providing the resources and support that can enable all their member churches to be the Good Samaritan.
Dégagé Ministries
Dining Room and Dégagé Dollars
Instead of a soup kitchen, Dégagé Ministries runs a dining room where anyone from the community can come get a restaurant style meal, often accompanied by volunteer-run activities that have helped turn it into a social hub for the entire neighborhood. 

All meals cost just $2, and anyone who can’t afford that can pay with Dégagé Dollars, which they can earn by performing simple custodial tasks around the center. This gives clients the dignity of knowing that they have earned their meal.
Home Sweet Home’s Innovative Fundraiser
Night In A Car
For Home Sweet Home ’s annual fundraiser, Night In A Car , teams of people raise money from sponsors to spend a night in their car. 

The Night In A Car event takes place on the first Friday in February so that participants can get a genuine taste of what it might be like to live rough in the middle of a Midwestern winter. 

And the Home Sweet Home Night In A Car event always kicks off with a creative educational experience, including their recent homelessness-themed escape room. 
Meet an Executive Director
Kurtis Kaechele, Streams of Hope
Kurtis Kaechele took the reins at Streams of Hope on February 17th, just weeks before the COVID-19 crisis really hit. So it’s fair to say that his introduction to the agency has been unusual. 

He is the first, full time employee in the agency’s history, overseeing a dozen part-time employees and more than a hundred volunteers on their six acre campus, which houses a food distribution program, community garden, offices, and a rec center. 
LUM Response to COVID-19
In the months since COVID-19 became a reality, Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM) has been working hard to restructure their programs to better protect their clients, volunteers, and staff while still meeting the real needs of their community. To learn more about how Lafayette Urban Ministry has adapted and continue to serve families, children and individuals experiencing homelessness –  click the "read more" button below.
Policy - Advocacy for Families & Children
Paid Family Leave
Each month of paid maternity leave is associated with a 13% reduction in infant mortality

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick family member, deal with a personal health emergency, or spend time at home following the birth or adoption of a child. The unfortunate reality, however, is that many people simply cannot afford to take advantage of these protections. If they’re not working, then they’re not bringing in the money needed to pay rent and utilities, buy food, and care for their family.
Invite Your Colleagues - Grow Our Network
If you know of other ecumenical social service agencies in your area who should be receiving Seeds of Vision , please send their contact information to

If you would like to see your agency, or one of your programs, featured in Seeds of Vision , please contact We would love to work with you. We’ll conduct a brief telephone interview before drafting an article and sending it to you for your approval.
Connect with your colleagues on social media by joining the Seeds of Vision Facebook Group. To join, click HERE.