members recently committed to collectively give nearly $89 million throughout the next three years as a part of the “I’m In” campaign
, so when its annual Beans and Rice
week approached last month the church was hesitant to ask for added contributions.
“We wondered whether Beans and Rice was too big of an ‘ask’ this year coming out of the campaign,” says Jennifer Sperry, Crossroads’ manager of client services and media relations.
The goal of Beans and Rice is to eat cheaply for one week, save the money one would have spent at the grocery store or restaurants and instead put it toward a cause — in this case, toward a few different causes — to benefit organizations outside of the church.
In spite of initial hesitation, Crossroads decided to proceed with Beans and Rice for the fourth year. The result was nearly $259,000 raised for eight organizations both locally and across the world.
The Cincinnati Recreation Foundation
and Talawanda Recreation Incorporated will receive $50,000 to provide free swim lessons to 2,500 kids this summer at 25 local pools. According to Crossroads, it’s important — particularly among minority communities — as 30 percent of Caucasians don’t know how to swim while 60 percent of Hispanics and more than 70 percent of African Americans are also without the skills needed to stay afloat.
Other local organizations to benefit from the funds include those working to address the heroin epidemic: Teen Challenge Cincinnati
, Teen Challenge KY
, Prospect House
and Heroin HopeLine
“We tend to choose organizations and funds each year based on what we're passionate about and what we know will make the biggest impact,” Sperry says.
Nationally, the Flint Child Health and Development Fund
, which supports both short- and long-term needs of children exposed to lead, is the recipient of $30,000, while internationally the church’s partner Amigos for Christ
will receive more than $58,000 to bring clean water to children in Nicaragua.
“The money going to fund a water system in Nicaragua is already at work, as we broke ground on the project last Monday. Talk about return on investment,” Sperry says. “We are so encouraged not only by the campaign and the fulfillment we've seen thus far, but that people stepped up to do Beans and Rice in the midst of so much sacrifice already happening. There is power when thousands of us come together to commit and focus on one goal.”
• Even though Beans and Rice week has culminated, it's never too late to practice sacrificial giving on your own. Even if you don't normally have time to prepare food on your own, a meal of beans and rice at Chipotle costs $1.80.
• Support organizations working to make our city, nation and world a better place.
more about Crossroads.