Members of Embrace Church are taking a unique approach to giving back this year.
The Run Project was created early this year as a way to “allow people of the church to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus doing projects outside of the church,” according to Embrace’s website.
Embrace uses donation money to fund the different projects church members members want to pursue. The person will apply for a grant to fund their project and can receive up to $2,000 from Embrace to complete the project.
The Run Project started from listening to the passions and ideas to contribute to the community from their members, said Kylee Breems, creative and communications director at Embrace.
“We want to support and lift up those people, give them resources to help them serve the people in their own backyards,” she said.
Breems said The Run Project is allowing members to go outside of their church community and help their neighbors.
“Instead of creating a bunch of extra ministries within the church, we are really encouraging our people to get outside of the church and to serve and love the people in their own backyards and their own worlds,” she said.
Riley Nordquist is one of those members.
The 24-year Sioux Falls native had an idea back in February to provide basketball hoops to a low-income school in the area.
“I remember as a kid how much I loved shooting hoops on the playgrounds at school,” Nordquist said. “I knew how cool it was to see brand new equipment and the excitement I would get.”
After searching, he decided to help provide Lowell Elementary in Sioux Falls with upgraded basketball hoops and nets.
“When I talked to the school custodian he informed me that the current basketball hoops hadn’t been updated for 24 years,” he said. “It would be cool if we could give the current setup a facelift.”
From the $2,000 grant — including an additional $2,100 raised through a GoFundMe page — Nordquist was able to provide the school with all new equipment for the school.
It was a long process from the idea to completion in September but the end product was fulfilling.
“It turned out amazing,” he said. “To see those kids shooting on the brand new hoops made it worth it and all the work that went into it to make it happen.”
There are always ongoing projects being supported by the church. Currently, there are projects in place centering on providing backpacks of supplies to homeless children or sending flowers to families that have lost loved ones.
This year the church has provided over $81,000 in funding for different projects, according to Breems.
No idea is too small.
“Simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference for people,” Breems said. “ We don’t think of church as just being the four walls, we truly want to be the hands and feet of Jesus for everyone.”