The Western Iowa Synod in Storm Lake is working to help bring the Banabus Uplift charitable program to the Storm Lake area. An organizational meeting that was to be held this month will probably be rescheduled after the first of the year in order to get the groundwork set for the program.
Barnabus Uplift is a statewide poverty-alleviation initiative already getting underway in some areas.
It serves as something of a clearing-house for community efforts, explains Cindy Wells, with the Western Iowa Lutheran Synod in Storm Lake. Programs are created to suit the needs of a particular area, designed to life people out of the grip of poverty and help them to live more productive lives.
Examples of programs that could be done include:
* Job training
* Micro econonomic-development such as assisting home-based businesses to start.
* Mission health circles - creating a fund that can be drawn upon for preventative and primary health care needs.
* Taxpayer assistance such as helping families that qualify for he Earned Income Tax Credit to get maximum benefit as they pay income taxes.
* Savings programs to encourage home ownership.
"It is a conglomeration of different entities across Iowa getting involved - public and private, religious and otherwise," Wells said. "There are a lot of people with a passion to help those who may need a hand coming out of poverty situations."
In one location, Barnabus Uplift has even been used to help start a goat-farming cooperative, she said.
Iowa Senators Harkin and Grassley were instrumental in helping to secure some federal funding to begin the initiative.
Wells said that organizers will continue working toward the program, and after the first of the year, she expects an event to be held to reach out to community leaders to begin to shape the form that the program could take here.
Barnabus means "Son of Encouragement," according to organizers.