Grace Episcopal Church slated to build computer lab for west Ocala students

Courtesy of Grace Episcopal Church

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Posted December 18, 2020 | By Ainslie Lee, Ocala Gazette

Ocala’s Grace Episcopal Church, located at 510 S.E. Broadway St., has been awarded a total of $10,000 in grant funds for its mission to address racial disparities caused by Covid-19, the church announced. 

Grace was awarded $7,000 from the Episcopal Church’s Becoming Beloved Community Rapid Response Grant, with the other $3,000 coming from the David and Lisa Midgett Foundation, a Marion County based organization that focuses on supporting the arts.  

This money will fund the vision of Grace Episcopal Church to outreach to the immigrant community in Marion Country, in partnership with the Ocala Farm Ministry, affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Grace Episcopal said in a release. “The grants will fund projects at the Ocala Farm Ministry that will address the educational gap in the immigrant community, a gap that has widened since the beginning of the pandemic.” 

According to Grace, with many students taking part in distant learning this year, the church will use the money to fund the vision of building a computer lab in the neighborhood colloquially known as “little Mexico” on the west end of Ocala.  

The computer lab will focus on bringing internet access to the area’s students, along with the hardware and software that the education system has demanded through the Coronavirus pandemic. The computer lab will also help strengthen tutoring programs that are already in place, the release states.  

“We are excited to partner with the Ocala Farm Ministry and with Chaplain Bob Miller,” Fr. Daniel of Grace Episcopal Church said. “These grants will allow us to partner with a known organization that has already deep roots in the immigrant community. We are thankful to God who has graciously provided through these grants from the Episcopal Church and The David and Lisa Midgett Foundation an opportunity to shorten the educational gap exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The computer lab will continue to follow CDC guidelines to ensure a safe learning environment for students, the release assures.  

“Most of the children we serve here were born here,” Miller said. “The children of farm immigrants will be part of our future and it is important that we invest in their future spiritually and educationally.”  

The Ocala Farm Ministry is always looking for volunteers, he says, especially those who are “willing to listen and bond with a child.” If interested in volunteering, please call Grace Episcopal Church at 352-622-7881. 

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