God's Gang is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the residents of the community with an all volunteer, staff. We promote self-esteem and providing support to youth driven sustainable agriculture projects and initiatives. Perceived by many as a new organization, God's Gang was established by Grand Boulevard residents and St. Mary's A.M.E. Church members over thirty years ago. It has been maintained and supported primarily by donations and volunteerism.
In the middle 70's, God's Gang initially invited youth to St. Mary's AME Church on Sunday mornings for a nutritious breakfast. Some of the kids began to sing in the choir and dubbed themselves God's Gang. The group hosted an emergency feeding program they called Mother's Cupboard Food Pantry.
Today, God's Gang supports a variety of activities that enable youth and adults to choose a life of self-help at the same time they contribute to strengthening their community. Through Planting Dreams, youth are engaged in urban agricultural, landscaping activities and crafts. SSUGA, the South Side Urban Gardeners Association provides family and senior citizens opportunities and assistance to develop neighborhood/ backyard gardens. The Energy Action Network assists with applications for CEDA and Weatherization programs for the entire family.
There is no ‘typical’ God’s Gang volunteer or member. Our members span birth to nearly 100 years old. They work, attend school, raise their children or grandchildren, sometimes all of the above. Members and supporters of God’s Gang serve as tutors, farmers, trip chaperones, teachers, choreographers, and tour guides. They dig holes, build greenhouses, pick the vegetables, feed the chickens, ducks and geese and teach youth to catch fish. Working with the Red Cross Fire Stopper program, they conduct fire safety inspections and distribute a safety kit. Working with community pantries and block clubs, they distribute organization produced herb bottles and as part of the Energy Network, and Citizens Utility Board (CUB) they distribute weatherization kits.We help community members who want to start their own growing sites, we provide a view into the past at a local Chicago school with our heritage and legacy displays and historical re-enactments in period dress and presentations.
God’s Gang provides teens with urban farming, employment and training, life skills through their After School Matters Planting Dreams group, and cultural awareness programs, mentoring, and recreational activities for the youth and families. The purpose of this is to develop and implement an independent and all-encompassing urban agriculture program as a means of enhancing food security, economic self-sufficiency, and positive youth development for impoverished members of these communities. Run by the children and families it serves, the organization promotes food security, economic self-sufficiency, and positive youth development
God’s Gang was founded to provide an alternative to negative youth influences in Chicago south side neighborhoods, God’s Gang ongoing objective is to present nutritional and entrepreneurial experiences for its members.
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