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4. Building on local organizations

The next Sunday at church Mrs. Bell offered her condolences to Johanna’s family. She’d been thinking about what could be done to prevent this terrible tragedy from happening again. If Johanna could get that sick, so could another child.

Bessie Jackson had been moved by the spirit to help the congregation get healthier. She’d organized a committee that conducted health programs for the church members. They’d had blood pressure screening days, talks on the importance of a healthy diet, and had recently started free exercise classes. Mrs. Jackson had been the driving force behind most of these efforts. Mrs. Bell decided to approach her.

Mrs. Bell asked after Mrs. Jackson’s family and how Bessie herself was doing. Then she broached the subject. Mrs. Jackson knew about little Johanna, of course. And she’d been concerned. She’d even started thinking about the problem, but had concluded there was not a lot the church could do.

“Even if we educated all our members about lead poisoning, there are lots of people in the neighborhood who live in old houses who aren’t members of our church. If our kids go to their houses to play, or if one of them repaints their house, the lead’ll be in the air and affect the whole neighborhood. We’d have to get everyone in the neighborhood aware and working on the problem and that... well, that would be a lot tougher than just offering free exercise classes here at the church.”

Mrs. Jackson said the health committee was doing about all it could do, what with the healthy food fair they were organizing for later that year. “If we had a grant, maybe we could hire someone to help, get some brochures printed and figure out other ways to organize the whole community. But without some money, I don’t think we could take on another thing.”

Mrs. Bell thought for a moment, and said “I could probably get us a grant. I’ve gotten a few grants for school supplies for my classroom. How ‘bout if I look into it?”

“Well...” Mrs. Jackson hesitated and then smiled broadly. “Sure, Ida. It couldn’t hurt. It sure couldn’t hurt.”

Next page: Learning more about grants
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10

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